For this post, I want to talk about the water crisis affecting one million residents in Selangor. I have been following closely the water crisis in Selangor, affecting a large part of my constituents in Subang Jaya. YB Hannah Yeoh has been updating regularly, she is on the ground distributing water and engaging residents. Residents are going into their 5th day without water. And we had a water crisis barely a month before.
In Parliament, I bumped into Minister Wan Junaidi and also separately the Deputy Minister Hamim on several occassions. I keep asking for their quicker action. They keep saying that Selangor must also do their bit. I have also relayed some of my ideas to YB Zuraida to pass on to the MB.
Wan Junaidi do not believe the current pollution crisis to be an act of deliberate political sabotage. Deputy Minister Hamim, who is an engineer and someone I enjoyed working with on the TPPA (when he was Deputy Minister of MITI), will not speculate but says that the problem is not new. The federal government has resources but water is a state matter.
I am of the view that with the economy slowing, more and more companies will try to cut costs by dumping pollution straight into the river.
Enforcement in Malaysia has always been a challenge. A widely held view is the enforcement officers are either stretched thin, overworked or at the other end of the spectrum, just plain corrupt being paid by polluters to turn a blind eye.
If enforcement officers are not effective, then we have to bring in the accountants.
The obvious solution is to track historical records of industrial waste output of each factory and counter check with their disposal costs. If a factory is found to have slashed spending substantially on disposal of industrial waste in the last year, then we can assume that they are engaging in illegal dumping. A major discrepancy in the accounts should be a basis for a full investigation and raid by enforcement officers.
The state should also set up a benchmark of waste output for each industry to red flag any unusual data volatility. Setting up patrol units along the rivers is not going to help as much as sending in the accountants.
Bottom line is this. If the economy deteriorates, we can expect more and more water cuts stemming from increased pollution activity.
Irate residents will not listen to excuses or causes. Understandably, they just want water and they want this crisis to not repeat. As such, Selangor must dramatically improve its emergency water delivery system. We need more water tanks and we need delivery to be on schedule and to be regular.
We need to also beef up security monitoring at our rivers. We need night time road blocks to monitor all suspicious trucking activities. More importantly is we need new people to lead such enforcement. A fresh start with new officers.
We need to bring in the accountants. We need all factories in Selangor to disclose their waste inventory. And we need to catch the culprits, severely punish them to end this cycle of water cuts.
Lastly, I beg the residents to also empathise with the authorities. You will not find a harder working ADUN in Malaysia than YB Hannah Yeoh. If you see her on your streets at midnight distributing water, give her a pat on the back.