Incinerator is the last thing we want for Selangor

Press Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Friday):  On Jan 15, 2003, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Mohd Khir Toyo claimed that Broga was not the 'dumping ground' for the controversial RM1.5 billion mega-incinerator which was initially proposed to be built in Kampung Bohol, Puchong.

He said this was because the Broga site had originally been earmarked, complete with preliminary Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) studies, some time ago.

He also said that his state government has also planned two more incinerators in Rawang and Sabak Bernam, and the capacity would depend on the need for solid waste treatment in those areas. He added that the one in Rawang "would probably be as big as the one in Broga".

But the crux of the matter is not whether the Selangor State Government has such plans earlier or otherwise. The whole question is still whether incinerators of this nature are safe or hazardous, or else the government should seriously look for better alternatives in the interest of the people.

The Broga residents and the residents from surrounding areas such as Semenyih and Berenang have voiced their opposition loud and clear. They have formed a "No Incinerator" pro-tem committee to embark on a people awareness campaign. About 2,000 of them, including residents from surrounding areas, through the pro-tem committee, had held a peaceful demonstration in Taman Tasik Semenyih on Dec 29 to protest against the project.

The real reason for the relocation was indeed due to public and political pressure mounted by the residents and the DAP. The residents in Puchong and the surrounding areas have threatened to vote against the BN government in the coming general elections. Chances of winning in constituencies such as Lembah Pantai, Serdang, Puchong, P J Selatan, P J Utara, Subang, Seputeh and Kelana Jaya would be badly affected if the BN government had insisted on not relocating the incinerator. The claim made by the Selangor MB (insufficient land in Puchong) was merely a face-saving statement.

Even the national news agency Bernama had quoted the Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Ting as saying that the relocation was due to protest from residents. The decision was made after negotiations between the authorities and Puchong residents for a compromise failed.

The DAP has been calling the BN government to replace incinerator with Materials Recovery Facilities technology on the grounds of safety and cost. Not only has the BN government yet to convince the residents on the safety aspect, it has also failed to justify the exorbitant cost of incineration.

Many experts have estimated that the cost of burning every tonne of rubbish could be as high as RM240, as compared to only RM25 per tonne for the current landfill method.

Moreover, it is not true that the fears of Semenyih residents had been eased following a briefing on the project held by the state government. In actual fact, the briefing was a closed-door one and involved only community leaders and not members of the pro-tem committee who represent the aggrieved residents. Hence, if the state government believes that the project is truly safe, it should not shy away from holding a public hearing for all concerned residents to attend and express their fears.


* Ronnie Liu, DAP National Publicity Secretary and DAP Selangor Secretary