The Environment Department (DOE) has upheld the Selangor government’s 2019 directive to a battery factory in Kampung Jenjarom to relocate, bringing an end to plans by the owner to reopen the plant.Selangor DOE director Nor Aziah Jaafar said the decision was made after taking into account the fact that the village in Kuala Langat was a medium industry zone and therefore unsuitable for battery-production activities, which were considered a heavy industry.
“The department has issued its explanation to factory owner on Jan 11 about the matter.
“It informs the owner about the state government’s directive for Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MPKL) to relocate the facility soon, ” she said.
On Jan 5, StarMetro reported on the factory’s plan to reopen to make solar batteries, which had raised concerns among villagers who feared a repeat of a pollution incident caused by the previous operators in 2019.
A joint investigation back then by DOE, Selangor Water Management Authority and the Drainage and Irrigation Department found the factory responsible for lead pollution.
State tourism, environment, green technology and Orang Asli affairs committee chairman Hee Loy Sian subsequently ordered the factory to cease operations and move to a heavy industry zone.
The StarMetro report drew the attention of Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and he met with the villagers on Jan 7.
“We hope MPKL will heed the explanation by DOE and instruct the factory to leave the area for good, ” he said.
When contacted, MPKL public relations and corporate unit head Mohammad Kamal Mohd Ramlan said it did not need to order the factory to relocate as the facility did not even have a licence.
“This means that it cannot operate, even though it has planning approval.
“If it insists on operating, then it must relocate as instructed by DOE, ” he said, adding that MPKL had not received any application for the factory to operate.
Persatuan Tindakan Alam Sekitar Kuala Langat secretary Pua Lay Peng expressed relief at DOE’s decision and congratulated the villagers on getting a good outcome.
“They stood together in solidarity for their own safety and succeeded in getting the authorities’ attention.
“This sets a benchmark for other communities in Kuala Langat to follow in future, ” she said.
Meanwhile, Sijangkang assemblyman Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi said he was not against “industrial and economic developments that provide job opportunities for locals, but they must abide by the existing laws.”
“Approvals must be obtained from the relevant authorities such as DOE and MPKL.
“If the proper terms and standards are followed, they (factories) will get the approval, ” he said.