Malaysia's Port Klang Residents Fear Protectionism for Illegal Plants
Malaysian locals around Port Klang are showing growing concern about the environment. This follows publicity about the pollution incident at Sg Kim Kim. The claims are rife, according to the Malay Mail. Claims are being made that illegal plastic and tyre recycling factories operating around Kampung Teluk Gong are ‘protected’ by an influential individual with the title of ‘Datuk’.
Port Klang Locals Allege Corruptions
“Datuk” is a Malaysian equivalent of a Knighthood and a Datuk holds a great deal of influence and usually some reverence in this traditionalist country.
One resident said there were about 50 licensed and unlicensed plastic and tyre recycling factories operating in the area. “They are protected by an influential individual, not only the residents are very reluctant to get involved in the issue of illegal factories, the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) personnel also do not dare, while ‘abang-abang kawasan’ (thugs) have prevented and harassed the local authority’s personnel from carrying out monitoring,” said the spokesman, who is a Port Klang native.
“At the beginning of the year, there was a massive operation carried out by the authorities, but only a week later, the factories were back in operation as usual, and we, the villagers here are forced to risk our health as these factories regularly burn plastic and rubber in the open, in the afternoon and early morning,” he said.
Bernama’s checks found that chemical residues from plastic and tyre recycling activities were discharged into drains until the water turned black and smelly, while drains were found to be connected to the water gate at the nearby fishing jetty.
Meanwhile, Port Klang assemblyman Azmizam Zaman Huri expressed his disappointment over the MPK's lack of action in addressing the illegal factories issue in the area.
“For an example, an illegal plastic recycling plant in Sungai Chandong, Bandar Armada Putra in Pulau Indah is back in operation despite being subjected to legal action by MPK, and it carries open burning activities which pose health risks to the surrounding population, also a factory in Teluk Gong, it is the same, despite action taken by MPK.
“The local authority (MPK) needs to take serious action in this regard as this issue has affected the image of the country and the government, it should not just be targeting the small fry, but should also take action against those sharks too,” he said.
Meanwhile, MPK’s Licensing and Hawkers Department head Azhar Samsudin said as of April, there were nine unlicensed plastic recycling plants that had been ordered to stop operations immediately and to clean up used plastic piles that were in their possession.
“Also, in the same period we have identified 41 unlicensed plastic recycling factories operating in Klang, these factories are being monitored and we will take action as soon as possible,” he said.
Source: Malay Mail/ Benarma