Tuesday, November 18, 2008



Assemblyman blames quarry operators for environmental woes


An Assemblyman told the House yesterday that environmental protection campaigns are a failure.

Stressing that the campaigns had failed to meet the objective in educating the public on how better to conserve the environment, Inanam Assemblyman Johnny Goh disclosed that hill cutting and river pollution remain the worst sins.

Despite numerous campaigns involving a lot of money, the rivers are as polluted as ever and hill cutting remains rampant, he said.

“Funds allocated to finance river rehabilitation programmes to curb erosion and pollution have failed to meet the target,” he said.

Goh therefore urged the State Government to look into the issue seriously and to take stern action against those who fail to adhere to the rules and regulations.

“In fact, there are a lot of rivers in Inanam such as Sungai Telipok, Sungai Mansiang, Sungai Kironggu and Sungai Keliangau which used to be crystal clear with abundance species of freshwater fish... but now all are just history due to pollution,” he said when debating in support of the 2009 Budget at the State Legislative Assembly.

Goh blamed irresponsible quarry operators for the existing problems, saying that their unplanned hill cutting activities have badly affected the ecosystem, causing mudslides and flash floods.

He also questioned whether their activities were approved by the Department of Environment and other relevant authorities, and sometimes some quarries were found to have not obtained the green light from the Government.

“The July 17, 2005 floods had badly affected Telipok and Menggatal causing losses up to millions of ringgit and claiming several lives. Although some parties had blamed them on swelling rivers, others linked the problem to erosion with the existence of quarries at the upstream of Sungai Telipok and Mansiang,” he said.

“We must take heed of past experiences. Everyone must be transparent and trustworthy. Do not be too greedy and neglect the people’s interest, as it would only bring destruction to all,” he said.

Goh stressed that everybody should work together to conserve and preserve the environment for the future generation.

“It is not fair for us to reap everything now and leave the future generation to suffer. But we can make it better if we all just work together,” he said.

In addition to this, he also urged the relevant authorities to upgrade piping system in his constituency to prevent occurrence of flash floods.

On another development, Goh urged the National Registration Department and other agencies to carry out a thorough study and ensure all Bumiputera red identity card holders are made citizens.

Referring to 78-year-old local Sino-Kadazan woman Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lin who was given a red IC before she finally received a replacement for her lost MyKad last month, Gob also urged village heads and Village Security and Development Committee to identify Bumiputeras who are paperless.

Yong lost her MyKad in February last year and was issued a red card, which is meant for a Permanent Resident (MyPR), and suffered more when her bank accounts were frozen as a result.