Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Selangor State Government and related government departments to reconsider the granting of the license to operate the lead-acid battery manufacturing plant in Jenjarom, Kuala Langat, which is due in late August. SAM views that it is unsuitable to operate the plant close to residential areas because the community will be exposed to pollution that can threaten their health.
Lead smelting works is hazardous to be conducted in the village. If this continues, the community is at risk of long-term health problem.
According to reports and news from local media, the problem began in early 2018 after the factory caught fire on December 12, 2017, destroying nearly 70 per cent of the factory building and after the cleaning work was completed, the factory was rebuilt in March 2018 and allowed to continue operations in September 2018.
Despite the statements of some parties on the penalty or a compound that leads to the cessation of the factory operations immediately, we believe that it is only temporary. But this irrelevant considering that this area is not an industrial zone and therefore the factory should not be granted an operating license because it is near to residential areas.
Furthermore, the lead-acid battery manufacturing activities are highly polluting and can lead to adverse impacts on the environment. News reports state that the earlier activity of lead smelting and recycling of used battery by the factory had breached the Environmental Quality Act 1974 in terms of misuse of the operating license.
Selangor Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said the state will always prioritise the environment, adding that it won’t compromise with anyone who goes against the rules (Free Malaysia Today, 10th August 2019).
YB Hee Loy Sian was reported stating that a fire at the factory in 2017, caused by a short circuit, had affected 80% of the factory’s facilities and 1,200 tonnes of materials were destroyed. This may have contributed to some pollution, he had added.
YB Hee said the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Department of Environment (DOE) and the Selangor Health Department were involved in checking the status of the factory. In fact, the District Council has been directed to coordinate and gather findings from all relevant agencies by mid-August to provide a comprehensive report to the Selangor Economic Action Council.
SAM urges the relevant departments such as the DOE, DOSH, Selangor Health Department and Kuala Langat District Council to take appropriate action to solve this problem because it not only affects public health but will also lead to environmental pollution in the future.
We also recommend that the state government and other authorities to take more decisive action and do not compromise in matters involving legal, environmental pollution and people’s welfare.