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7 Chinese cemeteries under threat

 | June 21, 2012

DAP's Er Teck Hwa says Petronas’ RAPID project in Sungai Rengit is also likely to displace mosque, temples, schools and Muslim graveyards.

KUALA LUMPUR: The residents of Sungai Rengit, Johor, are up in arms over the impending relocation of seven Chinese cemeteries in the area where Petronas is engaged in the RM60 billion Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project.

Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa (DAP) said he had collected signatures from 1,699 of the estimated 3,600 residents in the area for a petition urging Putrajaya to intervene. He said he would submit the petition to Parliament for debate.

“The residents living there protest against the building of RAPID without consultation with them,” he said. “They want it to be stopped. They also ask whether there can be an assurance from Petronas that their cemeteries won’t be affected.”

The cemeteries are located within an area of nearly 30 sq km. According to Er, there are 72 other facilities, including Muslim cemeteries, schools, temples and mosques, which may have to be shifted because of the project.

On May 26, there was a peaceful protest at nearby Sungai Kapal against the project.

“We are now sending in a petition for the second time because the first time it was rejected by the Speaker just based on technicalities,” Er said. “We hope that he would not ignore this issue anymore.”

He said the Federal Government should be held responsible because Petronas comes under the Prime Minister’s Department.

“So far there are very few answers,” he said. “Nothing much is being given to the folk there in black and white. Why can’t you communicate properly with the villagers? Why don’t you choose a spot with less impact? This has caused the dead to have nowhere to go.”

The RAPID mega-project, which is part of the Economic Transformation Programme, aims to turn southern Johor into a refining and petrochemical centre and is expected to transform Malaysia’s petrochemical industry.

It has been reported that the first phase of the project development would lead to the relocation of some 3,000 residents occupying about 1,000 houses.

Once completed, the 2,000 hectare complex will be bigger than the combined Petronas facilities in Kerteh, Gebeng and Malacca, and will be capable of producing nine million tonnes of petroleum products and 4.5 million tonnes of petrochemicals a year.

The complex will include a re-gasification plant to serve liquefied natural gas tankers.


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