Malaysian Government Planning Water Resources Bill to Reduce Pollution

May 2019

The Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources in Malaysia is planning a comprehensive Water Resource Bill to tackle water pollution. The national level bill is meant to address the management, control and enforcement of water resources throughout the country. Additionally, the bill will address coordination issues involving water resources that are shared by two or more states.

According to the Minister, Dr Xavier Jayakumar, all Malaysian states have their own laws concerning water resources, including on prevention of pollution. Dr Xavier called for collaboration of all stakeholders, including law enforcement to protect rivers and ensure their water quality.

The bill came among other initiatives taken to reduce water pollution, as a response to a front-page report showing little government effort to salvage 20 rivers classified as polluted and requiring intensive treatment.

Apart from the bill, the government has implemented several structural and non-structural initiatives. The Ministry’s Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) has built Infrastructure and log booms to treat river water quality at several locations of main rivers. Moreover, the Ministry’s Integrated River Basin Strategy (IRBM) is aimed at ensuring adequate and clean water supply, decreasing flood risks and making Environmental observation more accurate.

Recently, the state of Johor in Malaysia was affected by a severe incidents of river contamination, when ammonia-contaminated water from a reservoir at a bio-composite center next to a palm oil refinery in Sedenak went into Sungai Sayong, forcing two water treatment plants to shut down and disrupting water supply to about 17,000 households in the state. Recent media reports also highlighted serious water pollution issues in the state of Penang, impacting the livelihood of fishermen.

(Sources: New Straits Times; The Star; The Straits Times)

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