Sg Selangor Pollution: Company Director, Contractor Facing Life Imprisonment

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A company director and a road contractor, believed to be behind the latest Sungai Selangor water pollution incident, are facing a lifetime in prison for sabotaging water services in the state.

R Nathan and Lim Kian Aik, both 42, are the first individuals to be charged with such an offence under Section 124K of the Penal Code.

They pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court today.

According to the charge sheet, the two had with common intention caused harm to the water services in Selangor at a premise at Jalan Velox 2, Taman Velox, Rawang between Nov 2 and Nov 10.

The offence carries a sentence of life imprisonment, upon conviction.

Since the procedural law for Section 124K was under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), the prosecution did not offer bail to both accused.

Deputy public prosecutor Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad said the offence, which involves national security, must be tried at the High Court.

“The charge under Section 124K involves national security, and the trial would be under the procedures of Sosma.

“There is no bail and we are clear on that,” he said.

The two men arrived in court at about 9.45am escorted by the Serious Crime Investigations Unit (D9) from the Gombak police headquarters.

At the same court, Nathan and Lim had also pleaded not guilty to five other counts under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 and the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

Eizairi Shamsudin/NST

For the offence under the Water Services Industry Act, the duo were accused of releasing hazardous waste into the Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd public sewage treatment plant, which impaired the functioning of public sewage treatment works.

The charge under Section 61(1)(b) of the Act carries a fine not exceeding RM100,000, or a jail term not exceeding a year, or both, if convicted.

For the charge under Section 34A(2) of the Environmental Quality Act, they were accused with carrying out off-site storage without obtaining approval from the relevant authority.

The offence carries a fine of not more than RM500,000, or an imprisonment period not exceeding five years, or both, and a further fine of RM1,000 for every day the offence is continued after a notice by the Director-General of Environmental Quality requiring them to comply with the Act is served upon them.

For the charge under Section 34B(1)(a) of the Act, they were alleged to have used the premises at Jalan Velox to place scheduled waste which were non-halogenated organic solvents without prior approval of the Director-General.

The offence carries a jail term not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding RM500,000, if convicted.

Meanwhile, for the two other counts under Section 18 (1) and Section 19 (a) of the Act, they were charged with using the premises to place scheduled waste and 40 IBC tanks which were non-halogenated organic solvents without prior approval of the Director-General.

Both offences carry a fine of not more than RM50,000 or a jail term of not more than two years or both, if convicted.

They allegedly committed all the offences at the same place and time.

In pleading for bail, counsel Erni Ahmad, who represented Nathan, said her client who is suffering from diabetes is the sole breadwinner of his family.

“He has two children aged 21 and 12 who are still studying, and he is also taking care of his parents,” she said, adding that not offering bail would be ultra vires.

Meanwhile, Lim’s counsel, Harcharanjit Singh, said although his client’s case was under Sosma, the court could still grant bail upon discretion.

He said in pleading for bail that Lim had given full cooperation throughout the investigations into the case.

“He is the sole breadwinner of the family and there is no doubt that he would not come to court as he has to manage his company, which is still operating,” he said.

Judge Maziah Joary Mohd Tajuddin allowed them RM50,000 bail for the charges under Section 18(1) and Section 19(a) of the Environmental Quality Act with additional conditions.

The additional conditions were for them to surrender their passports to the court, report to the police station once a month, and a prohibition on going near prosecution witnesses until the disposal of the case.

The judge, however, denied the two accused bail for the other charges.

The case will be up for mention on Jan 8, next year.

Meanwhile, at the Magistrate’s Court, Nathan claimed trial to a charge under the Licensing of Trades, Businesses and Industries By-Laws (Selayang Municipal Council) 2007 for carrying out business activities at the same premises without licence.

The offence carries a maximum fine of RM2,000 or a maximum jail term of one year, or both, if convicted.

Magistrate Nik Mohd Fadli Nik Azlan allowed the accused RM3,500 bail and set the same date for mention. – NST