Bintulu MP calls for immediate investigation into Igan River oil spill incident

Seen is oil residue from the spill which can be traced up to 9km down the Igan River.

KUCHING, Aug 26: Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing demands the immediate investigation of and prompt action to be taken on a sawmill for allegedly failing to respond to and report an oil spill incident on Aug 22 which has tainted nine kilometres of the Igan River in Bintulu.

Tiong also called for immediate action to contain and clean up the oil spill which is not only threatening the river’s ecology but also poses a great hazard to the many residents who still rely on the river for their livelihoods.

“Based on complaints that we have received from local residents, the Igan River has been severely polluted by an oil spill over the past few days.

“This has greatly dismayed the residents living nearby, who depend on the river for their livelihoods and daily living especially for drinking water,” Tiong highlighted in a statement yesterday (Aug 25).

Tiong, who is also the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the People’s Republic of China, also took the sawmill to task for failing to immediately notify the relevant authorities upon their discovery of the incident.

“They should have also taken the initiative to assist the authorities to quickly mitigate any further spread of the spilled oil,” he added.

As a result of inaction, he claimed the oil spill, which occurred on Aug 22, had spread nine kilometres along the river.

“The (news of the) incident had already been widely circulated on social media for several days. So there should be no reason for the relevant departments to plead ignorance.

“Due to lax action, the problem of river pollution is much worse now, with the oil spill destroying much of the river’s ecology. Not least, it has caused great hazard and inconvenience to the residents who rely on pumping the river for drinking water,” he lamented.

The relevant state and federal departments, Tiong emphasised, must view this incident seriously and take immediate steps not only to rectify the issue, but also investigate the causes so that the appropriate measures can be taken.

“Although this was an accident in which the factories involved must take responsibility, we must not let the incident go unnoticed and let innocent residents bear the consequences,” he added. — DayakDaily