Broga incinerator: stop it today if Malaysians do not want to feel sorry tomorrow

Press Statement
by Ronnie Liu

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk seri Ong ka Ting said yesterday in the Parliament that the government would take into account views from the public on the proposed RM1.5 billion Broga incinerator in Semenyih, which has drawn much opposition from the residents, environmentalists, DAP and other opposition parties.

The minister also said that the project would only be implemented after the government receives a full report of its possible impact on the environment. He said consultants would conduct an EIA study covering all aspects of the project. Pending its completion, the government will not commence the project. Ong said that his ministry is willing to consider other methods and technologies to improve solid waste disposal in the country.

What the minister has said yesterday was sweet to the ears, but the public in general must be informed that the incinerator which was supposedly to be built in Kg Bohol, Puchong do have an EIA report approved by the various government authorities. It's therefore insufficient to proceed with the project just because the government have completed an EIA report on the site. There is also no guarantee or credibility on the part of the government that they will take into account views from the public.

In a forum jointly organised by the Broga/Semenyih No Incinerator pro tem committee and the New Era College's Community Service Student Initiative, anti-incinerator activist Setsuko Yamamoto said Japan was home to more than 3,000 municipal waste incinerators and 1,000 more for industrial waste, giving her country the dubious distinction of recording the world's highest dioxin level. Dioxin is known to cause cancer and other acute illnesses according to many scientists and health experts.

Her colleague Junichi Sato from Greenpeace said that based on the estimated construction cost of RM1.5 billion for the Broga project, the operational cost of roughly RM200 million per annum will be subsidised through additional taxes.

Junichi also said that In Japan, a person pays for waste between RM350 to RM 650 per annum on average, and a family of four will incur between RM1,400 and RM2,600 a year. The figure could be higher after factoring in the required spare parts and breakdown repairs.

The presentation of Setsuko and Junichi have confirmed our fear on both accounts, i.e. grave health hazard and exorbitant cost. It's an irony and also interesting to note that the world biggest incinerator in Broga will be designed and built by a Japanese company, and the RM2 billion soft loan will be also funded by the Japanese.

Malaysians must say NO now if we do not want to feel sorry tomorrow.


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, Selangor DAP Secretary and Shadow MPPJ Chairperson