‘Seize machinery and shut it down’

NEW A bird's eye view of the river showing a murky discharge coming from the sand washing site.

ILLEGAL sand washing operators operating along the Sungai Klang riverbank in Jalan Kelang Lama are playing a cat and mouse game with the authorities.

Barely two months since Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad ordered the site, at the 4th Mile of Jalan Kelang Lama, to be shut down, and now it is back in business.

The illegal sand washing activity is taking place just 2km upstream from two water quality sampling stations.

The stations are operated by the Depart­ment of Environment (DoE) and Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID).

Residents living and working in offices and flats in the vicinity, who have been observing the site, contacted StarMetro with photographs and video recordings as proof that the culprits were back at their game.

“They lay low for awhile, then suddenly they are back at work,’’ said C.K. Yap who works nearby.

“I have a clear view of the site from my office and have taken photographs and video to back my claim,’’ he said.

 (Above) StarMetro’s report published on Jan 4.
Illegal sand washing operators in Jalan Kelang Lama are back at it again despite Khalid ordering them to cease operations. 

A resident who lives in Pearl Point Condominium, who identified himself as Lee, said the operators started work two weeks after Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) shut it down.

“Sometimes work starts in the afternoon. Sometimes in the evenings but they are definitely operating full time now,’’ said Lee.

Some even contacted Global Environment Centre’s (GEC) river care programme Dr K. Kalithasan, pleading him to intervene and stop the contamination of the river.

Sungai Klang is currently being rehabilitated under the multi-billion ringgit River of Life (RoL) project.

Dr Kalithasan also called StarMetro to report his concerns on the contamination of the river.

StarMetro managed to capture images of the sand operators in action.

Images clearly show murky discharge coming from the operation site and flowing into the river.

The cream coloured discharge appears to be coming from a piping system underground.

The water quality of the river is currently at Class III and Class IV, meaning it is not even safe to touch.

“The operators are carrying out a clandestine operation and they are very good at it,’’ Khalid said when contacted.

“Send us the evidence and we will take it from here,’’ he briefly told StarMetro.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur DID director Nishad Mohamed Mohd Shaffy said a permanent solution was needed to stop the operators as they were repeat offenders.

“My advice to DBKL is seize the machinery and shut down the place for good, otherwise this will keep happening,’’ Nishad Mohamed said.

“Confiscate everything once and for all. We need to send a stern message to teach them a lesson.”

Last month, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan ordered DBKL to stop lorries transporting sand into the area.

Nor Hisham said the operator had no permit to transport sand and had been issued more than 50 summonses for illegally transporting sand last year alone.

Permit for lorries to transport sand in Kuala Lumpur are issued by DBKL.

Nishad Mohamed also considered the possibility that the sand could have been brought in to Kuala Lumpur from Selangor.

“In order to transport sand from point A to B, you have to pay a fee or royalty and this transaction will be listed in the docket,” he said.

Nishad Mohamed said the docket was an official document listing down items that were being delivered or transported from one place to another.

“There are details that show where it is coming from and where it is going to,’’ he added.

“So how is this sand coming into the city and who is collecting payment?

“The best option is to confiscate and shut the operation.”

In 2016, former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and mayor Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin ordered the operation to shut down, but after laying low for a few weeks, the illegal sand operators were back at work.

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