MELAKA: An illegal dumpsite along the banks of Sungai Kelamak was found ablaze and an environmentalist suspects that arsonists are behind it.
Melaka Consumer Affair and Environment Association chairman K. Murali Krishna alleged the site was deliberately set on fire at about 7.15pm Thursday (May 9).
Firefighters were still battling the blaze.
Murali said the culprits had acted without consideration for the Muslim firemen from the Alor Gajah Fire and Rescue Department as the fire is believed to have started a few minutes before "buka puasa" (breaking of the fast).
"We can understand if it's an emergency but I strongly believe the timing (setting the fire) was done on purpose.
“It's definitely an attempt to destroy evidence after various state
government agencies visited the site earlier Thursday following reports on the illegal dumpsite.
“They waited for 'buka puasa' before allegedly setting the site
on fire, hoping that no one would notice,” he said when contacted.
He said officers from various agencies including the state
Environment Department (DoE), Health Department, Alor Gajah Municipal Council (MPAG) and the district officer visited the site after a report on The Star Online was published on Wednesday (May 8).
“I was with the officers at the site in the morning," Murali said.
Meanwhile, Melaka Housing, Local Government and Environment chairman Datuk Tey Kok Kiew warned that the culprits will face the full force of the law, even though they tried to burn the evidence.
He said illegal dumping is becoming rampant despite the state's efforts.
He said the offenders could face action under Section 71(2) of the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672) that carries a minimum fine of RM10,000 and a maximum of RM100,000 or a jail term of six months to five years.
“We are not going to keep silent any longer, people are getting tired.
“The authorities have already taken punitive action on two
individuals in March and more individuals will face charges soon,” he said.
Tey said waste management concessionaire SwCorp will still try to identify the culprits behind the latest dump with the pictorial evidence collected earlier.
The dumpsite is located near the Seri Kelamak Industrial Area.