SAVE TELUK RUBIAH : NELAYAN BANGKIT VS ZAMBRY

FISHERMEN UP IN ARMS OVER VALE PROJECT

LUMUT, Perak Dec 2: Some 2,500 fishermen and their families are up in arms against a proposed iron ore pelletising plant by giant Brazilian mining group, Vale, in Teluk Rubiah, Manjung.

Vale reportedly will invest RM467 million in Teluk Rubiah to create a distribution centre consisting a pelletising plant to convert raw iron ore into pellets for use in steel production. Teluk Rubiah will be Vale’s main base to export to the Far East, especially China .

“The original plan was for the Vale plant to be located in the existing Kampung Acheh industrial area. So why change the location of Vale’s iron ore plant to Teluk Rubiah which is a holiday resort and jeopardise our environment and also our livelihoods,” asks a fisherman whose family has been living here for 40 years.

“The government must seriously rethink this project. The entire fishing industry which makes up this area’s main income, will be affected, from shrimp farmers to restaurant owners and exporters. We call on the government to turun padang and hold discussions with us. Please don’t jeopardise our rice bowls and then leave us to fend for ourselves,” he said.

“The iron ore plant will create pollution and this will have a really bad effect on fishing. How will we feed our families, send our children to school and pay bills if we can’t fish any more?” chimed in a fellow fisherman.

“We are very worried about our families’ health as the smog and unclean air will cause serious health problems. We can’t understand why the iron ore plant has to be in Teluk Rubiah when Perak has so much industrial land for a plant like Vale’s.

Because of pollution and smog, we can’t even switch to the tourism industry. This pollution will definitely affect the water quality and aquatic life. The tourism industry in Lumut and Pangkor will be destroyed and even more livelihoods will be affected. Which tourist wants to visit an industrial site?” he asked.

These fishermen are also concerned about the effluent discharge by the iron ore plant.

The fisheries industry in Perak is worth nearly RM900 million annually with a large proportion contributed from the Manjung area. Two thirds of this amount come from marine fisheries and some RM5 million is exported to Singapore.

Known for its idyllic beaches, aquamarine waters, hills and casuarina trees, the Manjung area has also clusters of hotels, restaurants, fish and shrimp breeders and hatcheries.

“If the government says the Vale factory is not harmful, we invite you to come and live with us. Even the price of our property will go down,” said a Manjung resident. “We are so worried.”

“Meanwhile, what has become of the second environmental studies after the first one has been rejected?” she asked.

She was referring to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report which was submitted to the Perak state government last year before a second environmental assessment was commissioned earlier this year.

According to official sources, the second EIA report has yet to be submitted to the Majlis Perbandaran Manjung.

Fishermen and residents in the area are in the dark and have not received any briefing from current Perak state government led by Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir who is also state assemblyman for Pangkor.

A retired politician cautioned against ignoring the rakyat in an issue such as this. “Turning a deaf ear and alienating the people does not augur well at time when the general elections are expected to be just around the corner. The Perak state government is holding on to power through defections on a razor-thin majority having previously toppled the PKR government. It will do well to heed the cries of its citizens,” he said.

2 comments:

Luna and Thatguy said...

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