TELCO TOWER WORRIES RESIDENTS
ABOUT 400 residents in Taman Mount Austin Phase Two in Johor are worried about a transmission tower which they claim suddenly sprang up within the water tank area of their neighbourhood.
“The tower came up within five days. After the structure came up, outsiders kept coming into our neighbourhood and they are arguing with the security guards every day.
“The outsiders, mainly from telecommunications companies, do not even have letters of authorisation from their companies.
“When the security guards demand to see their identification and their reasons for entering the neighbourhood, they would argue that they have valid reasons as they must work on the tower,” said K.H. Wong, a spokesman from the Taman Mount Austin Phase Two Residents Association.
Wong added that it was all right if Syarikat Air Johor (SAJ) Holdings Sdn Bhd wanted to do work on the water storage area, but it was not right if telco companies were entering the neighbourhood and harrassing the guards in the process.
The New Straits Times team visited the site and were also confronted by two men in an SAJ van who said that no unauthorised person should be in the vicinity.
When asked if the tower was an SAJ project, the van driver denied it was their project.
“If it was not SAJ’s project, then how can outsiders come in as and when they like, claiming that they have work to do at the site?” asked Wong.
The residents have also conducted their own research on electromagnetic radiation health effects in exposed and non-exposed residents and found that based on a study conducted by academicians in 2014, those who lived within the radius of 100m from a telco tower suffered dizziness, irritability and loss of memory more than those who lived beyond the 200m radius.
Tebrau member of parliament Khoo Soo Seang disputed the 2014 findings and said that based on other studies that he had come across, the electromagnetic radiation health effects from transmission towers actually affected those who lived further away from the tower than those living nearby.
“It is a misconception that the radiation emitted from nearby transmission towers can pose a threat to health.
“On the contrary, if the phone signal is weak, the phone user’s health is more at risk.
“When there is a strong signal, the phone user is exposed to less radiation. You do not need to take my word for it, there are reports that prove this,” he said, adding that when the signal was weak, people would also complain about the telco’s service.
Johor Baru mayor Datuk A. Rahim Nin said the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) would look into the matter and check the distance between the transmission tower and the houses and other buildings nearby, as there were guidelines on the approval of such towers.
K.H. Wong (left) with other residents of Taman Mount Austin Phase Two showing their concern over the telecommunication tower built inside an SAJ water tank site.