No bail for alleged Sg Gong offenders

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE five men charged over the Sungai Gong pollution will await trial in prison as no bail was granted by the judge.

Selayang Sessions Court Judge Syafeera Mohd Said denied bail for the alleged offenders — the four company directors and a workshop manager, after hearing submissions from the prosecutors who said the case was unbailable.

“This case caused six million residents in Malaysia to be without water supply for five days.

“This issue also received the attention of the country’s leadership. If the court disagreed with my submission, I request the court to impose bail of RM2 million each,” deputy public prosecutor Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad said at the court on Tuesday.

The five accused men are brothers Yip Kok Wai, 53; Yip Kok Mun, 58; Yip Kok Kuin, 70; and Yip Kok Wong, 60, who are the board of directors of Yip Chee Seng & Sons Sdn Bhd; and Ho Voon Leong, 59, who is the manager of the company’s heavy machinery workshop.

Defence counsel Datuk M Reza Hassan appealed for a low bail, saying that his clients were cooperative during police investigations and willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities after the incident occurred.

Another defence counsel, Abdul Rashid Ismail pleaded for RM100,000 bail, saying the clients are adults above the age of 50 who are at a higher risk of Covid-19 infection.

As it was, after hearing submissions by the prosecution and defence, Judge Syafeera denied all the accused bail.

Standing inside the dock, the five accused men were visibly shocked at the judge’s ruling.

They will be held at Bentong Prison in Pahang. The court fixed Oct 27 for mention.

Earlier, the five men pleaded not guilty to two charges.

One count is under Section 430 of the Penal Code for committing mischief by causing hazardous substances to flow from the workshop to Sungai Gong, causing a diminution of water supply for human consumption.

They were charged with committing the act at the workshop of Yip Chee Seng & Sons at Kg Sungai Dua, Rawang, in Gombak, Selangor, between Sept 2 and 3.

They face imprisonment for up to 30 years or a fine, or both, if convicted. On the second count, they were accused of emitting environmentally hazardous substances from the workshop into a waterway, which then streamed into Sungai Gong, without a licence at the same place and time.

The offence falls under Section 25(1) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 which provides a maximum fine of RM100,000, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both, if found guilty.

The Sungai Gong pollution wreaked havoc recently in the Klang Valley with unscheduled water cuts in Shah Alam, Petaling, Kuala Langat, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Selangor, Gombak and Kuala Lumpur.

Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd had to shut down four water treatment plants, the Sungai Selangor Phase 1, 2 and 3 and Rantau Panjang water treatment plants, affecting over 1.2 million account holders.