Workshop owner faces five years in jail and $193,000 fine

KUALA SELANGOR- Stern action will be taken against the owner of the workshop where a diesel spillage caused taps in the Klang Valley to run dry.

Natural Resources and Environ­ment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palani­vel said he would make sure that the culprit was brought to court for allowing diesel to spill into the Sungai Selangor tributary, causing water woes among millions of consumers.

"The owner will be brought in and if found guilty, the person will be charged under the Environment Quality Act 1974, which carries a jail sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to RM500,000 (S$193,000).

"I was told that the relevant parties are in the midst of preparing the investigation papers," he said yesterday after inspecting the workshop in Rawang and also the Sungai Selangor Phase 2 intake area.

Selangor executive councillor in charge of environment Elizabeth Wong said they would ask for police assistance if the owner did not turn himself over to the Department of Environment next week.

She also stressed that the workshop, which has been sealed, would not be allowed to operate in the state again.

"Although it has a valid business licence, it will not be given a second chance," Wong added.

Stall operators operating in front of the workshop also complained about its location, saying that the stench of oil was extremely strong.

A stall operator, who declined to be named, said he had lodged numerous complaints with the authorities.

"The smell is unbearable and yet no action was taken," he said.

Four water treatment plants, which drew water from Sungai Selangor, were shut down on Friday after diesel from the factory spilled into the river's tributary.

The plants produce 2.67 billion litres of water daily, catering to 57 per cent of the demand in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Consumers hit by disruptions comprise 60 per cent of the populations of Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam and the districts of Hulu Selangor, Kuala Sel­angor, Gombak, Klang and Petaling.

Syabas activated its top emergency response plan Code Red following the oil spill.

Code Red is activated when disruptions affect more than one million consumers.