Fri. Jul 19th, 2024
Federal government must stop politicizing
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The recent statement made by the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Jaafar proves that the minister has failed to act responsibly by ascertaining correct information. Such a move is extremely vital to help members of public better understand the tragedy that occurred on that fateful Saturday morning. The minister should also not politicise the issue and allow the independent inquiry to be carried out before making comments
First and foremost, it must be understood that the Department of Environment’s (DOE) disgreement was based on the distance of the existing quarry from the proposed construction site.
According to the Guidelines for Sitting and Zoning of Industry and Residential Areas, issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, it states that all quarrying activities must have a buffer zone for surrounding development of not less than 500metres; clearly contradicting the minister’s earlier statement  that “the distance of any development has to be 600 metres from the entire quarry site”.
Secondly, It is important to understand that both Tunku Abdul Razak College sits 589.44 metres from the quarry site and was given approval by the DOE.
The site of the construction accident is measured to be 714.53metres from the quarry (a distance obviously further than that of TAR College) and the initial DOE disagreement was due to the distance of the quarry site and not the hill-slope as what has been speculated. Furthermore, 18 different technical departments within the One-Stop Center commitee had given positive feedbacks for this project.
The most important piece of the puzzle is the relevance of all 18 agencies that approved this project and the most relevant of them all – the Department of Mineral and Geoscience.
The Department of Minerals and Geoscience (DMG), which is under the purview of the Natural Resources and Environment ministry had in fact, granted approval for this particular subject. This department is the primary agency that is responsible for mining activities, slope safety and quarrying, therefore, carrying more weight than the Department of Environment (DOE), as what many people have been led to believe.
Both the state government and MBPP have been extremely transparent and have been more than willing to provide all necessary documents pertaining to this project; to accuse that the state is “hiding many things and failed to monitor quarrying activities”, is again once again – absolutely false.
Contrary to what Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi wants members of public to believe, the quarry which has been in existence since the 1960s was in fact granted permenant license by the Barisan Nasional lead state government and under strict federal laws and heavily centralized system, the state and local council will need more than just political will to muscle the federal government to remove the quarry – amendments to federal laws must be made first.
Based on the facts and what is stipulated in federal regulations, both the state and local council did in fact follow every single guideline and regulations dilligently. It is most regretable how certain quarters have chosen to politicize this issue; the best thing anyone can do right now is to wait for the inquiry – which had just been recently announced, but we all know that the minister will continuously try to politicise the issue for political mileage. I do not for any one moment believe that the minister cares for the truth at all, let alone care for families of the affected victims.
There have been numerous false reports and the continous accusations hurled against the state government shows just how deeply scarred Malaysians have become. We are currently faced with a unique situation where Malaysians are in grief, in disbelief and in desperate need of closure.