Balancing Economic Growth with Environmental Protection
Taman Rimba Kiara Land Grab! - (15 March 2019)
C4 Centre exposes serious conflict of interest and complex web of connections between former FT Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan and property tycoon, Tan Sri Desmond Lim Siew Choon (developer and owner of Pavilion Shopping Mall)
Taman Rimba Kiara - The Land Grab!
Before the change of government following the general elections on 9 May 2018, C4 Center has been a strong advocate for good governance which includes the development of a framework that prevents any form of conflict of interest from occurring at various levels of government.
In light of C4 Center’s unwavering commitment to advocating good governance agenda, we have taken the initiative to research on a policy paper on conflict of interest, and how to combat the corruption agenda in Malaysia.
The connection between Tengku Adnan, former FT Minister and the directors of the companies mentioned in the info-graphic will raise queries as to serious conflict of interest in the dealings.
Promise 39, among others, states that the government will review approved or ongoing controversial projects to ensure their compliance with established standards. We note with concern some of the ongoing projects that raise serious environmental issues. The projects are:
1) Land grab involving Taman Rimba Kiara
On 22 April 2019, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad said he would submit to the Cabinet a 50% reduction of the proposed Taman Rimba Kiara high-rise project. He further stated that the government needed to resolve the issue as a legal contract had been signed and a development order had also been issued under the previous administration. However, Member of Parliament for Segambut Hannah Yeoh has come out strongly against what she referred to as “compromise solution” which has riled up nearby residents. The Cabinet is expected to meet next month to discuss this matter.
2) Papar Dam
On 26 March 2019, it was reported that the Sabah State Environment Protection Department had given green light to the proposed construction of Papar Dam although the necessary environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports had yet to be completed. In addition, the Sabah Environmental Protection Association called for a strategic environmental assessment on managing water for the whole state which should be done prior to the EIA.
3) Dubious land deal involving the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve
On 4 April 2019, the C4 Center exposed a suspicious land deal that had led to the encroachment of the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve. It urged the authorities to commence investigation into the deal. Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad however has yet to respond to this matter.
4) 64 dubious deals involving Kuala Lumpur land
It was reported that on 11 April 2019, the PAC would summon the Attorney General and MACC Commissioner to give statements. The MACC had previously probed the sale of 64 dubious land deals by the DBKL, of which 48 cases were cleared by the MACC. No date is given as to when the hearing before the PAC would take place.
We note that except for the 64 dubious deals involving Kuala Lumpur land, the government has failed to review the cases mentioned above. It is extremely concerning that Malaysia’s green lungs are being dragged into suspicious deals and no measures to ensure accountability are taken to immediately address these cases. We reassert our call for greater scrutiny over sales of government land, and demand the right to know, and the right to greater information over the dealings involving government land.
Review regularly the environmental policies and regulations and benchmarked against International Best Practices
27 August 2019 – A joint conference between the federal and Johor state governments needs to be conducted to address environmental issues and to pave the way for a blueprint to ensure environmental quality in the state.
C4 – A “climate emergency” needs to be called as the current administration and the general lackadaisical attitude of the nation towards the environment will hurt us and the future generation. The call for a serious review of the impact of our economic policies and the environment is long overdue as the nation has been suffering. The past months Malaysia have been plagued with dangerous environmental disasters from landslides, worsening air quality, the dumping of western plastic waste to the tragic pollution cases in Johor that has affected school children. The time for thinking is over. Now is the time for action.
8 July 2019 – Putrajaya has no intention of amending the Federal Constitution to curb deforestation, says Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar. As Xavier explained, it was agreed during the formation of Malaysia that land falls under the jurisdiction of state governments.
As per Mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016 – 2020):
Strengthening Policy, Legislation and Institutional Framework
Improving Capacity and Capability, Intensifying enforcement and compliance and Improving environment-related data for reporting, monitoring and evaluation
Sustainable Infrastructure Rating Tool
4 May 2019 – With the Sungai Kim Kim toxic pollution and plastic waste crises grabbing headlines, it’s easy to miss what else the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (Mestecc) has been doing.
12 Dec 2018 – Malaysia participated in UN Climate Conference to hammer out a work programme to implement Paris Agreement commitment to limit the rise in global average surface temperature to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
All development projects must comply with international environmental protection standards
12 July 2019 – The operating permit of a factory carrying out metal and e-waste recycling activities in Industrial Area 2, near Segamat, was suspended immediately today after it was found to have caused air pollution.
- Formulating an Environmental Protection Act
- Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 45% relative to level in 2005
- Installing 8,885 MW of renewable energy
- Targeting 30% recycling rate for household waste
- Developing an integrated weather and flood forecasting system
Review approved or ongoing controversial projects to ensure compliance with established standards
29 August 2019 – The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for Lynas to build a landfill to store its neutralisation underflow (NUF) residue has been approved by the Department of Environment (DOE) with 68 conditions. In an email to Malaysiakini, the DOE said these conditions include limiting the NUF secure landfill to a height of 30m from ground level, excluding its “capping”, which is approximately the height of a nine-storey building.
C4 – Lynas received approval by the Department of Environment (DOE) to build a landfill for waste from their plant. Their proposal was approved with 68 conditions to mitigate concerns by the DOE. On paper, this move by the PH government seems to be adhering to Promise 39 of their manifesto where they are reviewing approved or ongoing controversial projects to ensure compliance with established standards. However, the spirit of the manifesto has tarnished as several PH members of parliament were elected on an Anti-Lynas platform. A promise is a promise and more needs to be done to explain and action to be seen resolve this issue before it turns to a festering pile of resentment.
23 August 2019 – A special audit on the sale of land owned by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will be conducted with the assistance of the National Audit Department, said Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad.
19 August 2019 – The rare earth processing company Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Lynas) has yet to submit a formal application on the specific location of the Permanent Disposal Facility for its Water Leached Purification (WLP) residue in the state.
19 August 2019 – Australia’s high commissioner to Malaysia says the Mahathir Mohamad-led nation has passed a big test in the eyes of international investors by granting Lynas Corporation a conditional six-month extension on its operating licence despite protests against the rare earths producer. High commissioner Andrew Goledzinowski said the Malaysia government, led by 94-year-old Dr Mahathir, had improved its standing with the global investment community by basing the Lynas decision on science, not the politics surrounding the company’s storage of low-level radioactive waste.
18 August 2019 – The anti-Lynas rally today saw 400 protesters demanding for Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs’ resignations but decided against burning the PH manifesto as planned. Malaysiakini reported that Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) leader Tan Bun Teet told the press that it decided against this following comments by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
18 August 2019 – The government is seen as being very cautious and takes into account numerous factors before making a decision to renew the operating licence of the rare earth processing factory, Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd, di Gebeng, Kuantan, for six months.
2 May 2019 – The Energy, Science, Technology, Climate Change and Environment Ministry (MESTECC) has appointed a new director for the Johor Department of Environment (DoE) to strengthen the department’s machinery to address river pollution in the state.
21 July 2019 – Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok must learn the difference between the situation of small holders in Peninsula Malaysia and Sarawak before supporting the palm oil industries, said Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM). Kok was told that there can be no sustainable palm oil industry if native customary land rights (NCR) continue to be encroached by big plantations companies.
21 July 2019 – Penang-based environmental NGO Sahabat Alam Malaysia launched its publication ‘The Land We Lost: Native Customary Rights and Large Monocultures in Sarawak’ in George Town today. SAM president Meenakshi Raman said the publication provides a critical analysis of how large monoculture plantations are responsible for large-scale deforestation in Sarawak, and the violations of the native customary rights (NCR) since the 1990s.
30 April 2019 – The Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry has drafted the Water Resources Bill for use by all States to strengthen the management and control of water resources and related enforcement actions throughout the country.
20 March 2019 – Nine arrests made over Sungai Kim Kim pollution incident
26 November 2018 –Parliament formed a caucus to study the report by Lynas review committee
4 May 2019 – Minister Yeo Bee Yin (pic), who helms the vast ministry, has been implementing 80 initiatives across its many agencies since assuming the post on July 2 last year. Part of the initiatives touch on energy, especially renewable energy, research and development, start-up funding and climate change.
28 November 2018 – Minister announced that the government is formulating a sustainability roadmap, which is expected to be ready by the third quarter of 2019, as part of its initiative to spur green investment and ecosystem in the country.
6 May 2019 – The government aims to replace the Environmental Quality Act 1974 with a new act, which would see greater enforcement powers and stiffer punishments meted out to those who pollute the environment.
3 May 2019 – The government aims to replace the Environmental Quality Act 1974 with a new act, which would see greater enforcement powers and stiffer punishments meted out to those who pollute the environment.
12 Dec 2018 – Malaysia aims to announce a national climate change adaptation and mitigation plan and draft a Climate Change Act. The Act will take up to 30 months to be drafted; a climate change centre and plan will be set up by next year.
30 May 2019 – Penang Customs Department (JKDM) today revealed that 265 containers of plastic waste have been brought into the state and are now abandoned at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) since January.
Customs director-general Datuk Paddy Abdul Halim said they are working with the National Solid Waste Management Department (NSWMD) and the Department of Environment to combat the smuggling of plastic waste into Malaysia.