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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Reclamation without DOE's approval in Kedah shocks Guan Eng



Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng expressed shock that the Kedah government had allowed reclamation works to be conducted on a RM1.2 billion mixed development project in Kuala Kedah without approval from the Department of Environment (DOE).
He urged the state government led by Menteri Besar Ahmad Bashah Hanipah to have the “courage to take action” against the culprits, whether it was the state executive councillor, local council or company, which did not comply with the DOE requirement.
The DOE requires that all reclamation works on 50 acres of land or more to commence only after an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is approved by the DOE.
“This is nonsense! The culprit should be punished, whoever it is, to serve a lesson and set an example so that it won't happen in the future,” Lim said at a press conference today.
“Let them stay in jail and eat curry rice for five years,” he added.
The DAP secretary-general was referring to the project in Kuala Kedah, dubbed "The Dubai of Malaysia”, which comprises high-end bungalows, chic condominiums, malls and luxury eateries.
According to The Star, DOE director-general Ahmad Kamarulnajib Che Ibrahim had issued a stop-work order on May 15, halting reclamation works in the area.
Kamarulnajib said the order was in accordance with Section 34AA (2) of the Malaysian Quality Environmental Act 1974 (Amended) 2012 that no work can be carried out prior to getting the approval of the department.
Lim also took the media to task for practising “double standards”, saying they do not highlight the issue in Kedah, as much as they would if it happened in Penang.
He said there were also no calls by several quarters to take Kedah officials to task for the offence, which is punishable by a RM500,000 fine or jail up to five years.
Lim highlighted the issue because on April 4, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar chided Penang for allegedly allowing reclamation in Permatang Damar Laut, Bayan Lepas, to commence before DOE approval.
State executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow had then refuted the minister’s claim, saying that reclamation will not begin until the environmental impact assessment (EIA) is approved by the Department of Environment (DOE).
Lim asked why no one, including NGOs, had asked for the Malaysian Quality Environmental Act 1974 (Amended) 2012 to be enforced in Kedah.
“Whether it involves a company, state government official or local government staff, action must be taken, the law should be applied equally to everyone."

Lim asked if the non-action in Kedah meant that the project was a “special” one.
He queried if Penang would be allowed to conduct reclamation works without obtaining the approval of the DOE.
“Perhaps, the law only apply to opposition parties or opposition parties that rule the state government. If we are in the same situation, we will ensure, as we do now, to ensure full compliance to the law,” he added.- Mkini

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