KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Those found guilty of polluting rivers and water sources in Selangor will now be slapped with a mandatory prison sentence and can be fined up to a maximum of RM1 million following amendments to the Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (Luas) Enactment 1999 today. 

This comes after a total of 10 amendments to the Luas Enactment were voted through in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly this morning, which apart from the heavier penalties, also introduced a reward system for whistleblowers. 

Among the more obvious changes affects Section 79 of the Enactment, which will now carry a mandatory prison sentence upon conviction, with wrongdoers also liable to a fine of no less than RM200,000, doubling the previous maximum fine amount before today’s amendments. 

The section now also defines pollution as contamination that affects the taste and smell of water at its source, adding to current provisions which only cover the disposal of contaminants or poisons into a water source. 

“Considering the offences under Section 79 are heavy offences, imprisonment will be changed to become a mandatory sentence. 

“Such a punishment will become a deterrent factor to prevent any parties from causing pollution at any water source,” said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari when reading his winding-up speech before the amendments were voted through. 

Also included in the Enactment was a fifth Subsection for Section 79, which carries additional punishment for culprits, who will now have to reimburse Luas for all costs involved in clean-up and restoration efforts following a pollution episode. 

Amendments to Section 112 were also made that saw compounds now valued at 50 per cent of the amount fined, while Section 104 was amended to empower Luas to reward whistleblowers supplying verified information to them. 

Other amendments included the creation of a deputy director position within Luas, who will assume the responsibilities of chief in the absence of the director, expanding the scope of protection to staff and family members of Luas, while also empowering the Board to seize the assets of suspected polluters. 

The amendments also include changes to Section 26(4) of the Enactment which expands the scope of Luas staff eligible to claim allowances, a move aimed at motivating staff to get more involved in the various committees formed within the Board.