ARRESTED WHILE GIVING STATEMENT
MACC to get remand order on Phee today
THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission arrested Penang’s Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh in connection with an illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam. He was detained while giving his statement to investigators, and after MACC raided the Penang executive councillor's office and
seized some documents.
STATE executive councillor Phee Boon Poh was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday.
His arrest was in connection with investigation by MACC into an illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam.
Phee, who is state Environment, Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman, was arrested when giving his statement at the state MACC office in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah here.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrest.
“Yes, I can confirm that he (Phee) has been arrested and we will obtain a remand order on him tomorrow (today),” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
Sources close to the investigation told the NST that Phee was being investigated for abusing his power.
“It has to do with a letter that he had written previously,” the source said.
Phee, 65, who was accompanied by his lawyer, R.S.N. Rayer, arrived at the MACC office at 2.30pm.
Rayer, who left the building about two hours later, told newsmen that there was an instruction from the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya for Phee to be arrested.
“We have been asked to see the MACC officers here at 2pm and we came.
“Phee’s statement was taken. It was then we were told that there was a fresh instruction to place him under arrest
“I do not know why he is being arrested but it might have to do with some letters issued by Phee with regard to the illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu,” he said.
Rayer said MACC officers were in Phee’s office in Komtar yesterday morning and had taken some documents with them.
“They wanted his statement with regards to those documents and we have cooperated.
“We came here as witness.
“I am baffled as to why they have to place him under arrest,” he said, adding that he had appealed to the MACC officers to release Phee later.
At 11.30am yesterday, five MACC officers raided Phee’s office in Komtar and left the building more than an hour later with a bag of documents.
Later between 5.30pm and 7pm, MACC officers were seen at Phee’s house in Butterworth.
Sources said the documents were linked to the operations of the illegal carbon filter factory. On Thursday, MACC raided the factory, its office, as well as the Licensing Department of the Seberang Prai Municipal Council in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam. MACC officers were seen entering the council’s building at 10.30am and left three hours later with bags of documents.
Penanti assemblyman Dr Norlela Ariffin, meanwhile, thanked MACC for acting on the issue.
The PKR assemblyman, who had been championing the issue since 2015, said she was grateful to MACC for coming forward to solve the people’s woes.
On Thursday, MACC and other agencies had raided the factory in Bukit Mertajam after numerous complaints to the authorities fell on deaf ears.
“Thank you, MACC, for helping solve the issues which have been plaguing the villagers there. We have been doing our best to help them,” she said in a Facebook posting.
She said in May, she received an 18-page petition, signed by 180 villagers, objecting to the operations of the illegal carbon filter factory.
“I raised several questions at the state legislative assembly sitting the same month.
“The state Environment Committee chairman then said the factory was burning 2,000 tonnes of sawdust monthly to be turned into activated carbon for water filters.”
Norlela said the case was brought to court and the factory was fined RM1,000.
“It continues to operate until today, although the one-stopcentre had rejected an application for planning permission as the factory is built on hilly terrain,” she said.
Phee Boon Poh (right) and his lawyer, R.S.N. Rayer, at the state MACC office in George Town yesterday.