- At the Penang State Assembly
- Photos by WAN MOHIZAN WAN HUSSEIN, CHARLES MARIASOOSAY and LIM BENG TATT
OPPOSITION Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid (BN-Teluk Air Tawar) has alleged that seabed mining in the state has become critical.
“There is seabed mining in the state. We stand to damage the ecosystem.
“Once it is irreparable we cannot salvage it,” she said at a press conference on the sidelines of the state assembly sitting in George Town yesterday.
Jahara said when the state was under Barisan Nasional’s administration, a mapping of seabed mining activities was carried out in the state and it showed that there were no other available places for such activities.
“The state government will never admit to it but it is going on now.
“It is clear that there is mining as there are visible mud flats and the clearing of mangroves along the seashore.
“This will destroy our marine ecosystem.Immediate action must be taken to ensure Penang is not destroyed,” she said.
Jahara then offered to take the media on a site visit to one of the places where seabed mining was allegedly taking place.
State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh when asked to comment, said there were no such activities taking place in the state.
“We are very strict against seabed mining and there is no such activity going on now.
“If Jahara is sincere, she should show proof and report the location of the alleged seabed mining to the state government.
“Show us evidence of where it is taking place,” he said.
Phee then claimed that he raised the seabed mining issue back in 2004 and 2007 as the Opposition Leader at the state assembly when Penang was still under Barisan rule.
“There were illegal seabed mining activities at that time, in her constituency, when she was state exco at that time. But she never responded or spoke about it,” he said.
Phee said there were currently a few idle vessels in the sea and that those vessels looked similar to those used for seabed mining.
“Maybe this issue I had raised many years ago is now haunting her after she saw similar looking vessels in the sea,” he said.