Environmental quality act needs to be amended – judge

By IRNA-Bernama

Shah Alam (Malaysia) : Sessions Court judge Azimah Omar Tuesday suggested that the Environmental Quality Act 1974 be amended to allow the court to imprison company directors found guilty of polluting the environment.

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Apparently irked by recent environmental pollution cases, she said existing punishments did not provide for compulsory imprisonment of company directors, unless they failed to pay the fine imposed by the court.

“It’s necessary that the Act be amended so that we can send them to jail to make them realise how crucial it is to maintain a clean environment.

“I thought that we (court) have been meting out stiff punishment but the affected companies simply refuse to learn,” she said before handing down the sentence on Box Pak (Malaysia) Berhad which pleaded guilty to releasing industrial effluents whose viscosity exceeded the level allowed by the Department of Environment (DOE), into a drain.

The offense was committed at the company’s premises at Lot 4, Jalan Perusahaan 2, Batu Caves near here at about 9.40am on Feb 23.

Azimah fined the company, represented by factory manager Chong Kim Choi, RM35,000 or eight months’ jail for the offense. Chong paid the fine.

Counsel Jessica Jublin represented the company while the prosecution was conducted by Selangor DOE prosecuting officer, Wan Ruzil Wan Abdul Rahman.