AR­RESTED WHILE GIV­ING STATE­MENT

MACC to get re­mand or­der on Phee to­day

New Straits Times - - Front Page - AUDREY DERMAWAN GE­ORGE TOWN au­dreymd@nst.com.my

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.

PIC BY DA­NIAL SAAD

Phee Boon Poh (right) and his lawyer, R.S.N. Rayer, at the state MACC of­fice in Ge­orge Town yes­ter­day.

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