The Environmental Quality Act, 1974 will be amended to give more power to the Department of Environment (DOE) to prosecute parties responsible in causing pollution.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said at present, the department could only collect samples for testing but there are no provisions for it to take legal actions.

"Whenever there is a pollution, the DOE will collect samples from the rivers or sea. But after samples were obtained, we will send all analysed samples to the city council or state government for further actions.

"Currently, there are no provisions at national level that enables DOE to enforced any actions upon finding evidences," he said in a press conference after delivering his speech at the National Symposium On Marine Pollution Management, here, today.

Wan Junaidi however admitted that the current law which has its loopholes needs to be re-looked, in order to ensure the amended laws will focus on the issue of strict liability.

"We need to relook at the law to ensure that changes are made based on strict liability. This means that when a case involving pollution happens, the offender irregardless of their intentions, need no evidence to prove that he is guilty. This is still in discussion within my ministry and we expect to obtain feedback from the Attorney General regarding this issue," he said.

Citing the bauxite issue in Kuantan, Pahang as an example, Wan Junaidi said the designated chemists from DOE has been collecting samples although 'their hands are tied'.

"We take water samples on every alternate day to detect pollutants such as aluminium, mercury and other metals. Unfortunately, DOE does not have any provisions to accuse the offenders. All we do is store data and keep all unused evidences," he said.