Illegal miners culprits behind red sea, says Pahang govt

January 2, 2016 11:00 AM

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An aerial photo taken by a drone of a mining site in Kuantan. ― Picture courtesy of Kuantan MP Fuziah SallehKUANTAN, Jan 2 — The state government says illegal mining is the cause of contaminated waters near Kuantan Port.

State public utilities and environment committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abd Razak said a recent check showed legal mines adhered to the state government's regulations.

“There were no traces of them contributing to the contaminated waters near Kuantan Port,” Soffi said.

“We believe the illegal miners are causing the waters to be murky,” he said, adding that action would be taken against them.

Falling short from playing the blame game, he said the state government — together with other state agencies — would review their current system to better regulate the industry.

“It could be a situation where land owners, wanting to make a quick profit, commissioned contractors to carry out bauxite mining on their land,” Soffi said.

He said thugs had been following the movements of several officers who had visited the mining areas recently.

“We don’t know where these ‘tontos’ are from but they have been monitoring our movement ... it is a form of intimidation.”

“I don’t want to jump the gun as Mentri Besar (Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob) will be issuing a statement on this soon. There will be good news for Kuantan folk.”

He said Adnan's statement was based on the feedback from “hundreds of non-governmental organisations and individuals” concerned about the bauxite mining in the state.

Last month, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it was preparing recommendations to help the state government improve existing systems and regulations on bauxite mining. The findings are slated to be presented to the state administration this month.

However, it remains unclear if Adnan will wait for the recommendations before making his announcement.

Pahang MACC director Datuk Zainul Darus said he would present the commission's findings once an appointment with the state authorities was set.

Soffi took a swipe at certain quarters who were instilling fear into the people.

“Come up with facts and figures ... with proper studies. We are the government, our words are our bond. We feel for the people and we will ensure the bauxite industry will be better regulated,” he “said.

Beserah assemblyman Andansura Rabu had yesterday warned a “bauxite flood” could occur as the earthwork containing water at the mines was not thick and could easily collapse.

Andasura said despite repeated calls to review the way mining is conducted, miners generally continued to operate with impunity.


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