Hidden hands behind illegal factories?
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.
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).