Sabah tells oil palm mills to discard effluents on own soil

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Government has adopted new rules on oil palm effluent discharge that requires palm oil mills to discard the waste on their own soil instead of into rivers or water catchments. 

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the adopted control measures were proposed by the Federal Department of Environment (DOE) to help prevent pollution of rivers. 

New mills would have to adopt the measure immediately while the existing ones would be given a reasonable time to abide by them, he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the State Cabinet at Wisma Innoprise, near here. 

“We no longer want palm oil mills to discharge their effluents into rivers and water catchments,” he said. 

Musa said 71 palm oil mills operated in the state and 20 of them had the new procedure in place. 

He also said that the authorities had acted on palm oil mills that had contributed to the pollution of the Long Tui and Segaliud rivers in the Sabah east coast. 

The action included instructing the mills to divert discharge of effluents from ditches to holding ponds, he added. 

Musa said the DOE director-general had agreed to delegate authority to the state DOE to exercise certain powers under the Environment Quality Act 1974. 

The chief minister also said that the state Cabinet had approved a new ferry terminal for Tawau at a cost of RM20mil as the existing one was unable to cater to the increasing number of users following intensive growth of the economic sector, particular barter trade. 

Musa said the bridge linking Semporna town to Pulau BumBum, estimated to cost RM100mil, was expected to boost economic activity in the district, particularly tourism. 

It is a project earmarked for im-plementation under the Ninth Ma-laysia Plan. – Bernama 

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