Environment Minister says no decision yet on Banting battery factory

Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man during a visit to the battery factory to hear a briefing about the proposed activity there. -LOW BOON TAT/The Star

BANTING: The authorities have not made a decision on whether to approve the plan to reopen the battery factory in Kampung Jenjarom in Banting, Selangor.

Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the decision was pending a formal application by the factory owner to the Department of Environment (DOE).

"For now, no approval has been given as we are still in the initial stages, gathering all the information," he said here on Thursday (Jan 7).

Tuan Ibrahim said the factory must comply with the proper DOE regulations to ensure that there will not be a repeat of the pollution incident in 2019.

The minister earlier attended a meeting at the factory where he was briefed about the proposed activity there.

StarMetro reported on Jan 5 that the factory was ordered to close by the Selangor government in 2019 after it was found responsible for lead pollution.

But it has since been bought by Federal Power Holdings Sdn Bhd, which is looking to reopen it to make solar batteries.

This was despite objections from villagers, who insisted battery manufacturing was heavy industry and therefore unsuitable to operate at Kampung Jenjarom, which is a medium industry zone.

StarMetro also went to the factory on Jan 7, but was barred from entering.

Tuan Ibrahim said the residents' concerns about potential for pollution would be given serious consideration.

"I was informed by the factory that they are not making batteries from scratch as they are only planning to assemble components.

"The water usage is also lower compared to the previous owner.

"We have to be fair and will listen to the input of villagers and factory owner," he said.

Selangor DOE director Nor Aziah Jaafar said the department would wait for an official application from the factory.

"The factory must give assurance it will not release hazardous substances into the air and water," she said.

On Jan 5 StarMetro reported on the concerns of residents as the Kuala Langat Local Plan 2030 had categorized battery related activities as heavy industry.

Responding to this concerns, Aziah said that DOE would consult the Kuala Langat Municipal Council about the matter.

Also present was Sijangkang assemblyman Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi.

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