‘Datuk’ protecting illegal plastic recycling factories, allege residents

A Klang Municipal Council enforcement officer tries to smash open a lock at an illegal plastic recycling factory in Telok Gong during an operation in January. (Bernama pic)

PORT KLANG: Residents here are claiming that illegal plastic and tyre recycling factories operating around Kampung Teluk Gong are “protected” by an influential individual with the title of “Datuk”.

A taxi driver, who only wished to be known as Zambri, said there were about 50 licensed and unlicensed plastic and tyre recycling factories in the area.

“They are protected by an influential individual. Not only are the residents reluctant to get involved, the personnel from MPK also seem to be doing very little.

“The local authority’s personnel are being prevented and harassed by ‘abang-abang kawasan’ (thugs) from carrying out their duties,” the Port Klang resident said.

Zambri said that factories which faced legal action from the authorities also had the courage to restart their operations after being shut down.

“At the beginning of the year, there was a massive operation by the authorities but only a week later, the factories were back in operation.

“The villagers face a health hazard as the factories regularly burn plastic and rubber in the open in the afternoon and early morning,” he said.

Checks on the area found that chemical residue from plastic and tyre recycling activities had been discharged into drains, whose water was black and smelly.

Port Klang assemblyman Azmizam Zaman Huri expressed disappointment over the MPK’s lack of action in solving the problem.

He confirmed that many unlicensed factories that were shut down previously were back in operation.

“For example, an illegal plastic recycling plant at Sungai Chandong in Bandar Armada Putra, Pulau Indah, is carrying out open burning activities despite being subjected to legal action by MPK.

“The same is happening with a factory in Teluk Gong despite action taken by the council.

“My checks with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) also found that MPK did not issue any letter to TNB to cut electricity supply to the plants. TNB is ready to cooperate but it needs to be informed in writing by MPK,” he said.

Azmizam took MPK to task for not ensuring that the illegal factories remained closed.

“The local authority needs to take serious action. It should not just target the small fry but also act against the sharks, ” he said.

MPK’s Licensing and Hawkers Department head, Azhar Samsudin, said nine unlicensed plastic recycling plants had been ordered to stop operations immediately and to clean up piles of used plastic in their possession.

“As of April, we have also identified 41 unlicensed plastic recycling factories operating in Klang. They are being monitored and action will be taken against them  as soon as possible,” he said.