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Friday July 6, 2007
By LOONG MENG YEE and ROYCE CHEAH
SHAH ALAM: The RM1.5bil incinerator project in Broga has been terminated.
Court of Appeal judge Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar, who was sitting as a High Court judge, was informed of the matter by counsel Uma Parvathy Thothathri when the court commenced Friday for the continued hearing of an action taken by a group of Broga residents to block the project.
About 30 residents present in court cheered and applauded in court when lawyers acting for the Government confirmed that the project would no longer proceed.
Uma was acting for the residents who took the Government to court in 2003 over the project.
Friday's was supposed to have been a continuation of the hearings for the case but in a surprising turn of events, Uma informed Suriyadi that the firm had received a letter from the Attorney-General’s Chambers on Thursday evening.
Uma then told the court the letter stated the project had been “ditamatkan” (terminated).
Justice Suriyadi then turned to the two counsel representing the Government and inquired why the project was terminated.
Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan and Selangor legal adviser Datuk Zawyah Be Loth Khan replied that the project had indeed been called off.
The court also decided that the Government would pay costs to the plaintiff’s solicitors.
Outside the court, Alice Lee, who led the action and whose name appeared as the plaintiff in the suit, said the 402 residents who sought justice in court were “so very happy”.
“We are meeting tonight to plan for a celebration. We want to invite all those who had helped us in this struggle. Particularly, we want to record our appreciation to Judge Suriyadi. He has been very fair to both sides and he made sure the lawyers did their job on time,” said Lee.
On Nov 8, 2003, Lee filed a suit seeking a declaration ordering the Government to divulge details of the controversial RM1.5bil municipal solid waste thermal treatment plant.
On Jan 20, 2005, Lee filed an application on behalf of the villagers for a stay order pending the outcome of the suit against the Selangor Menteri Besar, the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry and the Selangor Land and Mines Department director.
On Feb 14 that same year, the High Court granted the temporary stay order.
Outside the courtroom, Uma said she would not withdraw the suit in the event the Government decided to revive project in the future.
"If the Government does, that would tantamount to contempt of court," she said.
Broga no-incinerator committee chairman Zulkefly Mohamad Omar said the residents were very happy that the matter has finally been put to rest and thanked the court.
"This issue involves public and not political interest," he said.
Selangor state executive councillor in charge of environment Datuk Ch’ng Toh Eng said there had not been any official statement from the Federal Government to the state regarding the cancellation of the incinerator project.
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