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KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed amendments to the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655) are currently under final review by the Attorney General’s Chambers and are expected to be tabled in Parliament this July.

Deputy Minister of Energy Transition and Water Transformation Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir said the amendments include heftier punishments, the listing of new offences, and allowing water service licence holders to claim the costs of restoring contaminated water supply systems.

“The amendments will involve increasing penalties from RM100,000 to RM15 million, while the jail sentence is raised from one year to 15 years, or both, for actions that pose a risk of contaminating any watercourse or water supply system.

“The listing of new offences includes any act that causes or may cause the closure of water supply systems or disruptions to water supply, and the release of any sewage, prohibited effluent, substance or material into any watercourse,” he said during the question and answer session in Dewan Negara today.

He was responding to a question from Senator Datuk A. Kesavadas who wanted to know how the ministry will transform the ecosystem for a clean water supply in rural areas nationwide by taking into account freshwater and seawater pollution from the uncontrolled disposal of toxic wastes by the manufacturing sector.

Akmal Nasrullah said amendments to Act 655 would also allow licence holders to claim the costs of restoring contaminated water supply systems and enable consumers to receive compensation for losses incurred due to water supply disruptions caused by contaminated water supply systems.

In the meantime, he said preventing incidents of water pollution is a shared responsibility.

“Local authorities also play a crucial role in preventing water source pollution caused by wastewater from places such as food courts, slaughterhouses, car wash and others,” he said.