Take stern action on officers who turned a blind eye to illegal ewaste plant, says Negri MB

SEREMBAN: Heads of Negri Sembilan government departments and agencies have been told to issue show-cause letters to enforcement officers who failed to act against business owners involved in illegally processing imported electronic and plastic waste.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun said he was sick and tired of being told of the existence of such activities in the state, especially along rivers which are an important source of raw water such as Sungai Linggi.

A visibly upset Aminuddin had just visited a 2.8ha area in Kuala Sawah near here on Monday (May 27).

The location was believed to have been turned into a facility to process ewaste and plastic waste since 2021.

Aminuddin said more upsetting was the fact that the activities had been carried out on five lots of agricultural land between 300m and 500m from Sg Linggi.

"I am shocked that these illegal activities have been continuing for years.

"How have they escaped detection for so long? How is it they have electricity and water supply when they do not have an operating licence?" he asked of Tenaga Nasional Berhad and SAINS, the state water supply corporation.

One local man and 21 foreigners were recently detained in a joint operation on the site involving nine departments and agencies.

Aminuddin said if the department and agency heads failed to act against their errant officers, he would instruct the State Secretary to issue them show-cause letters as well.

He said drastic action was needed as some civil servants simply refused to follow procedure or act on illegal activities.

"Someone has to be responsible for this. I hope those who failed to do their job will reply to the letters," he added.

"Those behind these illegal activities here must have spent millions to set up and run this business.

"They even expanded their business to the adjacent lots but (our enforcement officers) somehow did not see it," he said.

Aminuddin said investigations showed that Sg Linggi had also been contaminated from the overflow of recycled waste from the site.

"There is a water treatment plant which supplies treated water to residents in Port Dickson and parts of Seremban.

"Such (waste processing) activities are not only toxic and hazardous to the environment but extremely dangerous to human health," he said.

He said the business owners had violated several laws, including: failure to provide an environmental impact assessment report; carrying out illegal waste processing; operating on agricultural land; hiring undocumented workers; and operating without a permit from the Environment Department.

Aminuddin also appealed to the federal authorities such as Customs to tighten or review laws and regulations on the import of ewaste.

He said it was unfortunate that such waste, which was toxic to the environment, had been allowed into the country.

On Thursday (May 23), Aminuddin visited a 7ha site along Jalan Pantai where two factory operators had been involved in the smelting of toxic substances without approval for more than two years.

Both factories were around 50m from Sgi Linggi and 400m from Sungai Terip Dam.

The illegal activities had also caused trees within a 150m radius to die.

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