PETALING JAYA: Lim Guan Eng could have taken action against the illegal factory in Sungai Lembu anytime during his nine years as Penang chief minister, said Gerakan.
Its spokesman for land and anti-corruption, H'ng Khoon Leng, said it was irresponsible for the state government to now blame the health issues caused by the factory on the Barisan administration.
"This is clearly shirking responsibility. Using the excuse that the illegal factory was established earlier, does not allow the state government to shirk its responsibility in taking action against an illegal factory for more than nine years," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
It was reported that 11 out of 500 residents in Sungai Lembu were suffering from cancer, allegedly caused by the polluted air from the illegal carbon filter processing factory located in Penanti, Bukit Mertajam.
H'ng said evidence of satellite aerial photographs showed that the factory was able to operate openly in 2009.
"From satellite aerial photographs, the time marked photo of the area on 31st August 2008 showed that the illegal factory was not visible by aerial view.
"The illegal factory appeared clearly in subsequent satellite aerial photographs from 2009," he said.
He added that the previous Barisan government had acted on complaints from the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) in 2007 to compel the factory to carry out remedial works so that its environmental impact could be reduced.
Last week, Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh and two others were remanded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over a probe into the illegal factory.
However, the three were released on Monday after their remand orders were set aside by the High Court.