Hid­den hands be­hind il­le­gal fac­to­ries?

New Straits Times - - News | Story Of The Day -

BUKIT MER­TA­JAM: Are there “hid­den hands” fa­cil­i­tat­ing op­er­a­tions of sev­eral il­le­gal fac­to­ries in Se­berang Prai, in­clud­ing the car­bon fil­ter fac­tory in Sun­gai Lembu, which was raided by the Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (MACC) yes­ter­day?

That was the ques­tion raised by Per­matang Pauh Umno di­vi­sion chief Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said con­cern­ing Se­berang Prai Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil’s (MPSP) ap­par­ent in­ac­tion over the mush­room­ing of il­le­gal fac­to­ries de­spite count­less com­plaints.

Zaidi said the car­bon fac­tory was not the only il­le­gal fac­tory in Se­berang Prai as he had been in­formed by lo­cals that there were up to eight found op­er­at­ing on main­land Pe­nang.

He said it would be a mat­ter of ut­most con­cern if lo­cal au­thor­i­ties were fa­cil­i­tat­ing il­le­gal op­er­a­tions.

“Is MPSP ‘closing one eye’ to the op­er­a­tions of the il­le­gal fac­to­ries? Is the lo­cal au­thor­ity work­ing to­gether with the il­le­gal fac­to­ries? Are there any ‘hid­den hands’ pre­vent­ing the lo­cal coun­cil from tak­ing ac­tion?

“We hope MPSP will take ac­tion and fur­nish MACC with in­for­ma­tion, or we will lodge a com­plaint against the lo­cal coun­cil for ‘pro­tect­ing’ them.

“We are giv­ing MPSP time to clean up its act be­fore we ex­pose them. We will bring you (news­men) there (il­le­gal fac­to­ries) for an ex­posè soon,” he said at the Sun­gai Lembu vil­lage here yes­ter­day, which is sev­eral hun­dred me­tres from the il­le­gal car­bon fil­ter fac­tory.

Present was Parti Cinta Malaysia deputy pres­i­dent Datuk Huan Cheng Guan.

Zaidi and Huan later joined a protest against the il­le­gal car­bon fil­ter fac­tory.

Zaidi said most of the il­le­gal fac­to­ries in Se­berang Prai had built their premises on plots of land that had been ear­marked for agri­cul­ture pur­poses.

He also claimed that the fac­tory op­er­a­tors had ap­plied to MPSP to erect agri­cul­ture sheds, but ap­par­ently found a loop­hole con­cern­ing the rules and reg­u­la­tions which al­lowed them to run il­le­gal fac­to­ries in­stead.

Zaidi com­mended MACC for its raid on the il­le­gal fac­tory and hoped that there would be more raids soon.

Huan said he would hand over to MACC ev­i­dence he ob­tained from the lo­cals.

Protesters held plac­ards which read “Masyarakat Ber­t­er­ima Kasih Kepada SPRM (The peo­ple thank MACC)”, “Mana PBT Ban­ta­han Kami Tak Dipeduli” (Where is the lo­cal coun­cil? Our com­plaints have fallen on deaf ears)” and “Su­dah Lama Buat Kerja Haram (They have been op­er­at­ing il­le­gally for a long time)”.

Yes­ter­day, MACC raided the car­bon fac­tory, its of­fice, as well as MPSP’s Li­cens­ing De­part­ment.

MACC of­fi­cers were seen en­ter­ing the coun­cil’s build­ing in Ban­dar Perda about 10.30am and leav­ing three hours later with bags of doc­u­ments.

A 70-year-old fac­tory man­ager and his son were de­tained for ques­tion­ing.

PIC BY RAMDZAN MASIAM

Per­matang Pauh Umno di­vi­sion chief Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said (fourth from right) and Sun­gai Lembu res­i­dents protest­ing against il­le­gal fac­to­ries in Bukit Mer­ta­jam yes­ter­day. With them is Parti Cinta Malaysia deputy pres­i­dent Datuk Huan Cheng Guan (third from right).

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