Coming soon, Yeo says on illegal factories update

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin.

PUTRAJAYA: Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin says she will give an update soon on the status of remaining illegal plastic recycling factories in Port Klang, almost a month after she said Putrajaya would hunt down other illegal operators in the area.

“We have taken a lot of action, but we will give an update next week,” Yeo told FMT on the sidelines of a ministerial-related press conference at her ministry here today.

Asked if she was aware of claims that such factories exist in Port Klang, Yeo said: “If there are any claims, they can report to the DoE (Department of Environment) and we will take action as much as we can.”

This follows an FMT report earlier today on the existence of illegal plastic recycling factories in Port Klang, Selangor, whose operators are said to be disposing of melted down plastic waste in the nearby river.

Environmental activist Tan See Han recently took FMT to view illegal plastic recycling sites in an abandoned industrial area in Sungai Chandong, Selangor. The area was jam-packed with heaps of bulging sacks.

Tan claimed that the sacks were full of plastic rubbish imported from developed countries.

“The chlorine ends up in the river because not all the plastic can be melted,” he said. Several fishermen along the river also said they are now catching far fewer fish than they had a year ago.

In January, Yeo carried out spot checks in Port Klang, following which action was taken against 64 illegal plastic recycling factories in Selangor with 39 cases taken to court.

She promised that the Pakatan Harapan government would hunt down other such illegal operators. But Tan dismissed this, saying illegal factories are springing up all the time.

Last year, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin announced that Malaysia would permanently ban the import of plastic waste, following discussions with her ministry and Yeo’s.

Meanwhile, Yeo declined to comment on investigative reports by FMT and Malaysiakini on the status of a foreign company-owned golf course and hotel project situated in a mangrove reserve in Sungai Pulai, Johor.

This comes amid calls from green group Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia and rights group Lawyers for Liberty for federal intervention to stop further destruction of the protected land.