As ordinary citizens, we are sick and tired. For yet again our water supply has been cut off, with the same tired old reason. “Contamination of Sungai Semenyih” has become an irritating, broken record which is enraging thousands of residents in the Klang Valley.
As the festive season of Deepavali dawns closer, many are desperate for their water supply to be resumed. It is almost an onslaught, a silent and insidious attack on us citizens.
I can vividly recall Chinese New Year 2015, and the same ordeal happening, resulting in many of our Chinese friends having to cancel their open house and festive celebrations as a result of a water cut which lasted for almost six long days. The reason ? Contamination of the Semenyih river, obviously.
And now, whilst waiting anxiously for the water supply to be resumed (the Syabas app vaguely tells me it will take a period of roughly 4 days, followed by a 2 days on / off regime) we, the Rakyat, have to be subject to a ridiculous blame game.
All the major dailies reported today that Selangor Umno has slammed Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali for his implication that Barisan Nasional and Umno had played some part in sabotaging the state of Selangor’s water supply. Azmin had earlier claimed that preliminary reports and evidence gathered from the Semenyih river in the past showed a possibility of BN-Umno sabotage. He stated that : “it seems that it (the sabotage) is in series, probably because the election is nearing”.
Umno’s Semenyih assemblyman, Datuk Johan Abdul Aziz immediately retorted by asking the following question :
“Why would we sabotage our own water supply? This is a ridiculous claim,” he said.
He then proceeded to question the logic behind the possibility of BN and Umno sabotaging the water supply when his own family would suffer as a consequence of the dry water taps as a result of the odour pollution from the Semenyih river.
Listening to this is to witness a group of children bickering in a kindergarten or primary school. It is both infantile and unbecoming of our politicians as elected representatives with mandates to govern in a responsible manner from a trusting public.
What our politicians should be doing instead, which they are clearly not, is to stop this futile and childish tirade and to concentrate on what is the most important issue : who and what is polluting the Semenyih river.
Transparency and accountability to the public seem to be minimal.
We are tossed bits and pieces; little scraps of information regarding particular factories which are the “culprits”; and then suddenly the issue is forgotten again.
Those who are high up in the relevant departments and hierarchies have not said a word about the reason/s behind the pollution and water disruption. Which are the illegal factories? Have the operators been hauled up to the authorities and have the necessary fines been meted out? Have there been any harsh sentence or any prison terms handed out? And are the federal departments such as the Department for Environment acting in as swift a manner as they should? If not, what in the world are they all waiting for ? Christmas?
What is the use of having enacted, amongst others, an Environmental Quality Act 1974 which provides for a maximum fine of RM 100,000 and /or five years in jail if there is no genuine willpower to enforce it against the culprits? Why are we not taking harsher action against the perpetrators ? After all, this is the water that we drink! Do we not realise that our silence is tantamount to acquiescence of these criminal acts?
On 8 October, The Heat Malaysia reported that for the last five years, an illegal factory operated and repeatedly discharged pollutants into the Semenyih river without getting caught; an illegal landfill was found nearby and that a shocking number of more than 100 factories were operating near the banks of the river. Some had their licences revoked for violating trade licensing, waste disposal and town planning bylaws (the operation was done jointly by MPKj, Hulu Langat Land Office and the DOE). How more than 100 factories could have been allowed to operate by the river bank is indeed baffling.
And as the politicians continue to bicker, thousands of us, including this writer, have to continue suffering from lack of water supply.
More than one million consumers were affected last month alone as a result of the closure of the Semenyih water treatment plant in districts such as Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat, Sepang and Petaling.
I wonder what the figure will be this month.
When will this torture stop?
Source : Meera Badmanaban@The Heat Malaysia Online