Malaysia economic development strategy, since the introduction of New Economic Policy has hastened the development process in the following years especially 1980s - 90’s decade. Development was further speeded up in 2000s with the nation vision of achieving an industrialized status by year 2020. However, the rapid development process sometimes was carried out without really taking into consideration, that the possibility of such development will impacts on the environment, in this case, impacts towards the rivers. Table 1 below shows the number of polluted river (suspended solids) from year 1998 – 2008.
Table [ 1 ]: Number of clean, slighly polluted and polluted basin in ...view middle of the document...
Between July 1997 and mid-January 1998, approximately U.S.$225 billion of share values were wiped off. Before long, the impact of the financial crisis was being felt in the real sector as evidenced by business closures, retrenchments leading to high unemployment, and increasing inflation levels. This economic impact resulted as one of the factors that contribute to increasing of polluted river in the country.
Figure 1: Number of Polluted Rivers in Malaysia and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Malaysia vs Years. Source: WorldBank
Figure 1 shows the Number of Polluted Rivers in Malaysia and Gross Domestic Product of Malaysia from 1998 to 2008. As mention before, the 1997-1998 financial crisis reflect on number of polluted rivers until year 2000. On 1998, numbers of polluted river increase from 39 numbers to 45 numbers on year 1999 as well as year 2000 which is 53 numbers of polluted rivers. Furthermore, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Business Condition Index (BCI) should also be compared in order to get a clear view of the situation (see Figure 2 highlighted in red color). Since the first quarter in 1998, the Index Industrial Production (IIP) had been on the decline with industrial output contracting by −3.4 per cent and manufacturing output shrinking by −4.3 per cent in the first quarter of 1999. Because of this factors, the industries had suffered so much due to the economic downturn. Hypothesis can be made in such a way that, the industries does not have enough capital to treat their wastewater generated during their factory operation since treating wastewater incurred cost. Even though, releasing of untreated wastewater into the river is prohibited based on Environmental Quality Act 1974 and its regulations, industries does not have a choice not to treat their wastewater
in order to sustain their business. That was the point where the polluted river starts increasing until the year 2000.
Figure 2: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Business Condition Index (BCI)
Source: The Developing Economies
Based on Figure 3, the number of polluted rivers in Malaysia and values of capital output for mining activities in Malaysia. From year 1998 until 2002, the trend of increase and decrease on number of polluted river are significant as values of capital output shows the same trend. However, on 2004 until 2008, as the value of capital output increase from year to year, the number of polluted river is slightly decrease and stable. Furthermore, Figure 4 above shows the number of polluted rivers in Malaysia and value of gross output for quarrying activities in Malaysia. From year 1999 to 2001, the increasing and decreasing in value of gross output in quarrying activities are moving at the same rate as the number of polluted river observed. However, in year 2002, the number of polluted river decreases from 38 number of polluted river to 27 number. At the same time, the value of gross output shows increasing trend from 2001 until 2008.