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JOHOR BARU, March 14 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has not ruled out the possibility that the Environmental Quality Act 1974 would be reviewed in light of the serious pollution caused by the dumping of chemical waste in Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang.
This follows an outcry from the public that the punishment for those found guilty for offences under the Act are not severe enough.
“We take note of that, usually we face water or solid-based contamination, but this is gas contamination, something we have not dealt with. We will study whether the Act should be strengthened,” he told reporters after visiting victims of the contamination at the Sultan Ismail Hospital here today.
Three suspects have been detained by the Department of Environment under Section 34B of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 in connection with the contamination. They face a maximum jail sentence of five years and a maximum fine of RM500,000, if convicted.
Meanwhile, when asked about the court action to be taken against the suspects, Dr Mahathir said there must be strong evidence before the prosecution can begin their case.
“We have to determine it properly before filing the charges... we must not just simply charge someone who may be innocent.
“We need to conduct an investigation to determine where this substance (chemical waste) originated from,” said the Prime Minister.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian. — Bernama