Selangor bans all works near rivers

SHAH ALAM - The Selangor government has ordered local councils in the state not to approve development projects near river tributaries.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said that the prohibition, effective immediately, would give enforcement officers time to inspect factories that were currently operating near the riverside.

"Enforcement must be increased to ensure another water contamination issue does not take place," Khalid told a press conference after chairing the weekly executive council meeting yesterday.

"All relevant parties in the state government will continue to inspect the situation from time to time to ensure that rivers do not get contaminated,"said Khalid.

The move to freeze projects near river tributaries comes after an oil spillage in Sungai Selangor last week which disrupted water supply to several areas in the Klang Valley.

Water concessionaires worked around the clock to clean up the river after four water treatment plants - Sungai Selangor Phase 1,2,3 and Rantau Panjang were shut down.

Khalid urged the National Resources and Environment Ministry to enforce a law under the Environment Quality Act 1974,to make culprits responsible for river contamination pay for the damage caused and the cost for the required clean-up.

The Star had also reported recently about the vulnerability of rivers and the measures that must be taken to prevent their contamination.

State executive councillor in charge of environment Elizabeth Wong said that the company, which caused the oil spillage, did not have the necessary approval to operate a factory.

"I do not have the exact details with me now but the license the owner has does not allow him to run a factory," she said.

On the long standing water restructuring issue between the state and federal governments, Khalid said that he was still waiting for the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry to revert to him for a final meeting.

"There have been numerous meetings at various levels. I am waiting for the ministry to get back to me for a final meeting between the minister and the Mentri Besar," he said.