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Cabinet decision on halting bauxite activity unclear, says Kuantan MP

January 2, 2016 7:12 AM
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Cabinet decision on halting bauxite activity unclear, says Kuantan MP

By: QURNISHA HAMKA AND KYRA ALEGRIA

“The decision is pending,” said Kuantan Member of Parliament (MP) Fuziah Salleh in an immediate reaction to queries on the Cabinet’s decision last week to temporarily stop bauxite mining activities in the area.

According to her, the decision, which was brought to her attention through other news reports today, clearly failed to provide any final word or effective date from which the decision would commence.

This, she added, did not provide a solution to the problem that arose since the issue was brought up last year.

“The Cabinet did not state a date from when the decision would be enforced, also not stating who would monitor this matter, whether it’s the state or Federal Government.

“To me, the Federal Government should take over because if it is left to the state government, things (illegal bauxite mining) will go nowhere,” she said when contacted.

Fuziah said that the Federal Government should take over in suspending all bauxite industry activities, claiming that Pahang state government failed to do so.

She also claimed that Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob did not have the sincerity or political will to implement the Cabinet’s decision.

“The situation in Kuantan now is worrying and involves 700,000 locals who are exposed to high health risks. The Cabinet’s decision was also not concrete and this matter will be going back and forth with the rakyat being the ones who will suffer.

“Before the matter gets worse, I urge the Federal Government, in addition to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is from Pahang, to take over suspension efforts. Immediate action is needed,” she said.

Utusan Malaysia today reported that the Cabinet decided to temporarily suspend bauxite mining activities in Kuantan, Pahang, due to severe environmental issues.

The decision came after evident drastic changes in the environment when nearby rivers and the sea starting to turn red due to contamination.

According to the report, following the suspension, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was quoted as saying that they will review the method of transporting bauxite following the decision of the Cabinet.

“A thorough study will be conducted involving land and sea transportation to find the best way to prevent recurring contamination due to mining of bauxite.

“We know this is an issue that should be studied in terms of sustainable mining methods, because if we continue the current method, the environment will continue to be polluted.

“That is why we studying not only in terms of the mining aspect but also transportation for this refined bauxite which is light and easily disseminated, turning the affected area red.

“This means not only the trucks involved in carrying the bauxite, but also the ships which are transporting the bauxite, have to be reviewed as well,” he was quoted in the report.

Earlier, The Rakyat Post reported that Gabungan Badan Bertindak Menentang Bauksit (GBBMB) had issued a memorandum urging Adnan to either announce a moratorium on the activity or resign from his post if no action being taken.

In the memorandum, which was shared by Fuziah on her Facebook page, it was stated that the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry had agreed to suspend export licences, but a decision was pending by Adnan on the matter.

The issue surrounding bauxite mining has led to Kuantan residents rising up in protest as heavy rainfall have led to bauxite dust causing the nearby waters to turn red in colour.

Source: therakyatpost.com

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