Folk calling for telco tower to be removed

(From left) Hon, Chai and other residents holding up a banner to voice their objection to the telco tower in Kulai.(From left) Hon, Chai and other residents holding up a banner to voice their objection to the telco tower in Kulai.

RESIDENTS of Jalan Lengkongan in Kulai, Johor, want a 30m telecommunication tower − erected in March − relocated.

Retiree Chai Yong, who initiated a petition for the relocation, claimed that the authorities did not seek feedback from residents before allowing the tower to be built there.

“Some houses are located just 50m from the tower and we are worried about its harmful effects,” he said.

Farmer Hon Chiu Fook said he noticed a construction project near his home but did not realise what it was for.

“I was surprised to see the tower there. It is not operational yet and we hope the authorities can move it to a more suitable location,” he said.

When contacted, Senai assemblyman Wong Bor Yang said he had suggested that Kulai Municipal Council hold a dialogue with residents together with representatives from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Health Ministry.

He said that previously, residents from Lakeview Residency and Taman Kensington in his constituency had also voiced concerns about a telco tower near their homes.

“Local councils responsible for approving such projects should ensure a sign is put up at the site informing residents about the nature of a development.

“Residents should be given a chance to highlight their concerns within a given timeframe.

“In many instances, they are in the dark and only realise what the project is for when they see the physical structure,” he said.

Wong added that he had, at the Johor State Assembly sitting on Dec 11 last year, asked whether residents had the right to protest against the construction of telco towers in their vicinity.

In response, state education, information and communications committee chairman Norlizah Noh said the building of these towers in residential areas was unavoidable.

“According to MCMC, many complaints received from the public were baseless and without merit.

“The majority of protests were due to concerns about radiation which came from rumours and unofficial sources.

“This becomes an obstruction to the government’s efforts to digitise the nation under initiatives such as Jendela, where the goal is to deliver quality Internet services.

“The towers are approved after safety factors – from physical aspects to radiation – are considered.

“Based on MCMC’s investigations, some residents used radiation as an excuse,” she said.

The public have the right to voice their concerns but it must be supported with valid arguments, Norlizah added.

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