SAM threatens to sue the state for approving an iron and steel mill and a LNG plant in a protected area.
GEORGE TOWN: Friends of the Earth Malaysia (SAM) is considering legal action and public protests against the Perak government for its approval of two projects that violate the National Physical Plan (NPP).
SAM president SM Mohamed Idris said the state’s green light for the construction of an iron and steel mill and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply plant in Tanjung Hantu made a mockery of the NPP, which forbids such projects in coastal areas.
According to the Manjung district local plan for the period 2002 to 2015, the two facilities will be located within an area to be designated as the Pasir Panjang-Teluk Senangin Tourism Development Zone, which has an attractive natural environment, with its undisturbed beaches, coastal hill forest, heath forest and sea turtle nesting area.
Idris said SAM’s research showed that the projects would cause severe damage on the environment, particularly the nesting area for turtles.
He did not rule out filing a suit and organising street demonstrations against the state government.
He said the area surrounding Tanjung Hantu could be categorised as an Environmentally Sensitive Area Rank 1, which means it cannot allow physical facilities or agricultural or logging activities unless these come under the rubric of low-impact nature tourism, research and education.
Idris said Tanjung Hantu, being a turtle landing site, would qualify as an area under Rank 1.
“The state structure plan and local plan should always conform with the NPP,” he said.
According to him, the state government approved the two projects early this year.
The iron and steel mill would take up 202.35 hectares and the LNG plant 60 hectares in Tanjung Hantu.
Idris is upset that the state had not adequately responded to SAM’s letters regarding the issue, which were sent on Sept 14, 2009 and Nov 16, 2011. SAM had only received an acknowledgement that the letters had been forwarded to the relevant authorities, he said.
He also accused Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir’s administration of ignoring objections voiced out at public hearings on the draft structure plan for Perak for 2001 to 2020, drafts for the Manjong district local plans for 2010 to 2020 and 2002-2015, and the draft local plan (revision) for 2020.
He said the two projects would also be harmful to the fisheries sector, especially coastal fisheries.
“The state government should seriously consider the importance and value of the natural surroundings and reject the projects,” Idris said.