Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 27th of October, 2016
Severe cuts to the Monitoring and Enforcement Budget of the Department of Environment (DOE) needs to be reversed
One of the regular complaints that I receive from residents in my constituency is the issue of noise and emissions of smells by factories which sometimes operate late into the night. When these complaints were highlighted to the Department of Environment (DOE), which oversees the monitoring of these factories, the usual response I receive is that they don’t have enough enforcement officers and a sufficient budget to carry out their monitoring and enforcement duties. More recently, the serious pollution of Sungai Semantan and Sungai Semenyih which resulted in water disruptions affected more than half a million households, was traced back to illegal discharge and dumping of pollutants into the river by irresponsible parties.
At a time when more resources should be dedicated to monitoring and enforcement, I was shocked to learn that the budget for these activities have been cut from RM105 million in 2016 to RM76.5 million in 2017, a reduction of RM28.5 million or a 27% cut (See Figure 1 below)
Figure 1: Cut in the budget for Monitoring and Enforcement Activities, 2016 to 2017
This large cut in the budget for monitoring and enforcement activities will inevitably jeopardise the ability of the DOE to effectively monitor the illegal dumping of pollutants into our rivers by factories and other irresponsible parties.
At a time when our rivers are increasingly vulnerable to pollution, the monitoring and enforcement budget should be INCREASED by 30% rather than cut by almost 30%. These cuts are unacceptable and I call upon the Finance Minister to reverse these cuts and increase the allocation for monitoring and enforcement activities under the Department of Environment.
Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang