RM132,000 penalty slapped on firms for violating the environment

SHAH ALAM: Four companies pursuing development projects in the U10 and U11 areas near the Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam agriculture park were yesterday fined a total of RM132,000 for various environmental violations. 

The four companies were Ecoasli Development Sdn Bhd, which was fined RM50,000; Lebar Daun Development Sdn Bhd (RM50,000); Syarikat Tudong Emas Sdn Bhd (RM30,000) and Tengku Shahrudin Sdn Bhd (RM2,000). 

A fifth company, Sin Heap Lee Sdn Bhd, was also charged with violating seven conditions set out in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Its company director Au Lai Koong claimed trial. Session Court judge Suraya Othman fixed mention on June 13. 

Ecoasli Development was accused of violating four conditions in the EIA. They include failure to conduct immediate hill slope stabilisation and negligence to submit the necessary reports to the Department of Environment. 

The failure to stabilise slopes resulted in erosion, land structure damage and caused muddy water to flow out from the project site.  

Ecoasli was charged under Section 34A(7) of the Environment Quality Act 1974 and punishable under Section 34A(8) of the same Act. 

GUILTY PLEA: The directors of the four companies (clockwise from top left) Abdul Aziz, Gan, Zakaria and Noor Azhar.

The maximum penalty under this Act is RM100,000 or five years' jail or both. Its company director Zakaria Yaakob pleaded guilty.  

He apologised to the court, saying the company had appointed a contractor, Lebar Daun, to conduct the land clearing. “We failed to monitor the work done by the contractor,” said Zakaria. 

Lebar Daun is charged with abetting Ecoasli in violating four conditions in the EIA. Its company director Noor Azhar Mohd Nordin also pleaded guilty. He said the company had taken steps to address the misdeeds highlighted. 

Tudong Emas was found to have conducted illegal earthworks and land flattening without prior approval from the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) in an area in U10 during an inspection by the authorities in February. 

The company was charged under Section 70A(9) of the Road, Drainage and Building Act 1974 of the MBSA. 

Company managing director Abdul Aziz Salleh pleaded guilty. His counsel, Adnan Rahim, said the company had no intention of violating laws. 

Syarikat Tengku Shahrudin was charged under the Section 14(b) of the MBSA bylaw 1990 for conducting land clearing works without adhering to specifications. 

Company director Gan Boon Kat, represented by counsel C.Y. Chong, pleaded guilty. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor Salehuddin Saidin urged the court to impose the maximum penalty, saying developers must learn that greed for money must not be at the expense of the environment. 

In her judgment, Suraya warned the companies not to take the laws for granted. She added that companies must not be reckless in their deeds because they assumed the local authorities would “close an eye” to the violations committed.  

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