Residents discontinue legal action


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 11 May 2004

BY CHAN LI LEEN

IPOH: Kampung Baru Kuala Kuang residents suing rubber factory Chip Lam Seng Bhd for polluting the environment and causing nuisance have discontinued their case after the company agreed to relocate their plant next year in an out-of-court settlement. 

Judicial Commissioner Balia Yusof Wahi allowed the discontinuance with no order as to costs following an oral application by their lawyer M.S. Kumaari at the High Court here yesterday. 

Plaintiffs Chai Sin Chong, 65; Lee Ha, 56; Tan Chin Aik, 65; Tan Kin Siah, 42; Chin Chiew Ooi, 54; Wong Woon Chin @ Wong Kin, 60; and Yap Fatt, 64, had filed the suit against the factory on behalf of themselves and all other residents of the village in Chemor on July 11. 

Under the settlement agreement dated April 23, the factory has to fully relocate its operations to a new site in Kanthan, Chemor on or before March 30 next year, failing which it must cease operations at its existing site near Kampung Baru Kuala Kuang. 

Pending relocation to its new site, the factory also agreed to use formic acid instead of sulphuric acid in its operations within 21 days from the execution of the agreement. 

As a further measure to reduce the residue presence of hydrogen sulphide, the factory would add a proper quantity of a chemical consuming bacteria in its anaerobic ponds or effluent process to convert dissolved sulphide into a non-odorous form. 

Alternatively, the company could also use other masking or odour-removing agents, provided that the addition of such chemicals or agents will not be disruptive to the factory’s effluent treatment system. 

Under the settlement, the company must buy a specific handheld gas meter together with a special applicator for hydrogen sulphide detection to be made available to the Department of Environment which will conduct regular tests. 

The test readings shall be duly recorded and countersigned by the relevant DOE officer with a copy of the tests to be sent to the plaintiffs’ lawyers within seven days after the test. 

The factory also needs to fill up the open ponds at its existing site and place a layer of fertile topsoil above to enable growth of vegetation, and permanently cover or remove all waste piles including sludge from the anaerobic ponds, within 90 days from its complete relocation. 

A total sum of RM25,000 must also be paid to the plaintiffs’ counsel by the factory as agreed legal costs in the suit. 

Chip Lam Seng Bhd was represented by K. Tharmalingam.  

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