FEDERAL Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad has rubbished claims that his ministry issued permits to an illegal sand washing operator in Jalan Kelang Lama.
“That is utter rubbish and not true at all. The Federal Territories Ministry does not issue permits; only the local authorities and government agencies can do that.
“The mayor (Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan) has stopped lorries transporting sand into the area, and he is waiting for PTG (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Land and Mines Office) to issue the green light for DBKL to shut down the operation completely.
“Once the go ahead is given, DBKL will go in and shut it down,’’ he said.
StarMetro reported yesterday that the owner of the sand washing site along the Sungai Klang riverbank at the 5th Mile off Jalan Kelang Lama claimed he had the necessary permits from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the ministry for the work.
Silver Matric Resources Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Azman Idris said he had the required papers for the job.
Azman told StarMetro that DBKL and the ministry had given him the necessary permits, including one to transport sand. He also denied that his operation was illegal.
This was refuted by Nor Hisham who said the operator had been slapped with 50 summonses last year for illegally transporting sand to the site.
Permit for lorries to transport sand into construction sites are issued by DBKL.
Meanwhile, Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) director Nishad Mohamed Mohd Shaffy said he would write to the Federal Territories Environment Department (DOE) to check on the river’s water quality at the sand washing site.
“I am confused too about all the jurisdiction issues but I will write to the DOE about the matter.
“There are two water quality sampling stations near the site and we will be looking into that,” he said.
On Jan 2, StarMetro published an exclusive report titled “Sand pirates back in action” that exposed activities hampering the river rehabilitation project.
The same issue in an article titled “Dirty riverside business” was reported in May 2016 with sand washing activities taking place just 8km away from where billions of ringgit was being spent on the River of Life project (RoL) at Masjid Jamek.
Former Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin ordered the site to be shut down, but activities resumed again early last year.
In 2013 and 2014, The Star exposed the illegal sand washing operations in other parts of Jalan Kelang Lama — one was on government land beside the Seri Anggerik People’s Housing Project (PPR) flats in Batu 4 and another in Taman Sri Manja.
Following the reports, the ministry ordered the shutdown of several mining companies operating illegally on government and private land in the city.
Then Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who issued the closure order, said illegal sand mining went against the government river cleaning projects.
Residents, who tipped off StarMetro on previous cases, complained that lorries carrying sand into the area made as many as 50 to 100 trips daily between 8am and 6pm along Jalan Kelang Lama.