KUALA LUMPUR: The large cut in the Budget 2017 allocation for monitoring and enforcement activities will inevitably jeopardise the Department of Environment’s (DOE) operations, warned Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming.
“It won’t be able to effectively monitor the illegal dumping of pollutants, for example, into rivers,” he said in a statement.
At a time when the rivers are increasingly vulnerable, he stressed, the DoE budget should be increased by 30 per cent.
“I was shocked to learn the allocation has been cut from RM105 million in 2016 to RM76.5 million for 2017,” he said. “This is a reduction of RM28.5 million or a 27 per cent cut.”
These cuts are unacceptable, he argued, urging Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also Finance Minister to reverse the cuts.
“The Finance Minister should in fact increase the allocation for the DoE’s activities,” Ong added.
Ong also said that among the regular complaints he received from residents in his constituency was the noise, emission and smell from factories.
“These factories sometimes operate late into the night.”
When the matter was brought to the attention of the DoE, he said, the usual response was that they did not have enough enforcement personnel and budget to see to the matter.
More recently, recalled Ong, serious pollution of Sungai Semantan and Sungai Semenyih resulted in water disruption in Selangor.
“It was traced back to the illegal discharge and dumping of pollutants into the rivers,” Ong said, adding that the subsequent water supply disruption affected more than half a million households.