GEORGE TOWN: An investigation carried out by the district health office in 2015 could not confirm that the activities of an illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu had led to cancer in residents nearby.
State Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin (pic) revealed the minutes of a central Seberang Perai district meeting in September on the concerns raised by Penanti assemblyman Dr Norlela Ariffin.
The minutes stated that the district health office had received a list of 12 names, and that five types of cancers were found in 11 people, namely breast cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, liver cancer and nasopharynx cancer.
The 12th person was later diagnosed to be suffering from high blood pressure.
It was also written in the minutes that the 11 people with cancer were aged between 41 and 85, with the majority above 50.
"All the cancer patients had never worked in the factory before and the location of the factory is quite rural. As such, we cannot accurately ascertain that the factory poses a cancer risk," the minutes stated.
On Aug 11, Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh, who is the State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman and Sungai Puyu assemblyman, was arrested.
Factory owner Edmond Gan Eu Lee, 37, and his father Gan Buck Hee, 70, who started the factory about 30 years ago, were also detained.
They were released on Aug 14 after the Penang High Court set aside their remand orders.
Phee, who was present during the press conference with Afif, said he did not take any money from the unlicensed factory.
"Neither my family or I have any personal interest in the factory, nor are the owners of the factory related to me," said Phee, who was reading from a statement in Komtar on Wednesday.