A GROUP of Jenjarom villagers have submitted a memorandum to Selangor government opposing a proposed plan to reopen a battery factory in their village.
They urge Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari to retract the approval given to the factory in Kuala Langat and uphold its decision in 2019 requiring the facility to relocate elsewhere.
Kampung Jenjarom spokesperson Mohd Nazri Afrizal said the factory would put 10,000 villagers at risk of chemical accidents.
“There was a fire incident in 2017 that exposed us to chemical fumes and endangered our safety.
“We are worried that a similar incident may recur,” he said when met at the state secretariat building in Shah Alam yesterday.
Nazri said complaint letters had been submitted to Environment Department (DOE), Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MPKL) and Kuala Langat District Office.
“The authorities should not allow a heavy industry factory to operate so close to housing areas,” he said, adding that the facility was situated less than 500m from a school.
During a town hall on Sept 24, MPKL said the factory would get temporary approval, renewable every six months, but this was subject to it meeting certain conditions.
These included conducting a soil and water study every three months, not discharging wastewater into surrounding areas and to confine its operations from 8am to 8pm daily.
This was despite a decision by DOE in February for the factory to relocate after concluding that the village – which is in a medium industry zone – was unsuitable for battery production activities.
Masjid Jenjarom administrator Bostanoordin Ahmad, 64, urged Selangor government to order the factory to relocate.
“The state government must prioritise residents’ safety over tax collection and profits,” he said.
Villager Sarmiah Panita, 64, who lives near the factory, is worried for children’s health and safety especially those enrolled at a nearby kindergarten.
“We are not against development but our safety should not be compromised,” she said.
On Sept 29, Amirudin told a news portal that his government relied on DOE’s report to allow the factory to reopen.
The previous factory made national headlines in 2019 after investigations by several authorities found it responsible for lead pollution.
The state government then ordered for it to cease operations and relocate elsewhere.
Another company has purchased the factory and is planning to assemble components for solar batteries.
When met at a separate event, Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said MPKL had done due diligence before issuing the approval.
He stressed that all industrial developments were subject to environmental impact assessment (EIA).
“One component of the EIA is to take into account the concerns of locals.
“If MPKL has issued an approval, that means the factory has fulfilled all the requirements,” he said.