Health Ministry: No objection to reopening of Ayer Ganda plant

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye speaks during an interview with Malay Mail January 31, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye speaks during an interview with Malay Mail January 31, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, May 4 — The Health Ministry has no objection if the Ayer Ganda Water Treatment Plant in Gerik which was closed last month, resumes operation.

However, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye stressed that the reopening of the water treatment plant (WTA) should only be implemented if the treated water is not meant for cooking and drinking. 

“It is not our jurisdiction to open or not open (plant). We are saying that the water is not safe for consumption, but it can be used for other purposes,” he told reporters after opening a Perak level seminar on “Stopping Abuse” in Meru here today.

The Ayer Ganda WTA has been closed since April 9 on the order of the National Water Service Commission (SPAN) because the water was found to be contaminated with arsenic.

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu on April 26, said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister, Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar had announced his ministry could not withdraw the closure order except on the advice of the Health Ministry.

Dr Lee on April 18 had announced that the water from Ayer Ganda WTA could be used for washing and bathing.

However, one day earlier, SPAN which the national water industry regulatory body in a statement said it has not plan to restore the operation of Ayer Ganda WTA because the arsenic contamination is still detected.

Commenting further, Dr Lee who is Gopeng MP said his ministry had officially informed SPAN last week that water from the plant is safe to use other than cooking and drinking.

Apart from that, Dr Lee proposed that general practitioners (GP) in the country especially those with private clinics to change the way they provide their service in the long run.

He gave the example that GPs could cooperate with the ministry in implementing the Health Care Scheme for the B40 group to register and conduct screening on those who are eligible.

“We welcome GPs to be involved in non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes and high blood pressure. We will help for the good of the people,” said Dr Lee.

He was commenting on the worries of the Malaysian Medical Association that many private clinics would close if the government implements control on the prices of medicines in the market. — Bernama

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