Wan Junaidi: State, federal govts against bauxite mining in Sematan/Lundu
LUNDU: Both the federal government and state government are united in their stand against bauxite mining in Sematan/Lundu area.
On the state’s side, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg had promised Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar that the state government would not issue any licence for the prospecting as well as mining of bauxite in the area.
On behalf of the federal government, Wan Junaidi said he would not issue any Approved Permit (AP) for export of the clayey rock which is the chief commercial ore of aluminium. Perigi and Segambal in Sematan/Lundu area are believed to have large quantities of bauxite, resulting in a company’s attempt to do prospecting there.
This has raised concern among the villagers of Perigi who have approached and informed Wan Junaidi of their objection to bauxite mining within the vicinity of their village.
“They approached me and asked me to help. So I told the company that I would not allow them to do prospecting or mining here because we don’t want to destroy our environment. The people from this company said I had no authority to stop them. They forgot I do have the authority not to issue any AP which is needed to export the bauxite though I might not have the power to stop them from prospecting or mining.
“The issue of AP for bauxite export is in the hands of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry. Without the AP, no one can export the bauxite. They can mine but they can’t export,” Wan Junaidi told The Borneo Post when asked for further clarification on the issue yesterday.
Wan Junaidi further revealed that just recently, he briefed Abang Johari, who is the state’s Resource Planning and Environment Minister, on the issue.
“He (Abang Johari) gave me the assurance that he would not allow any bauxite mining in Sematan/ Lundu area as the place will be developed into a tourist centre of Sarawak and no licence would be issued even for prospecting,” said Wan Junaidi.
During the Lundu Chinese New Year Celebration held at Lundu Chung Hua Hall on Wednesday evening, Wan Junaidi affirmed that he would not allow any prospecting or mining activities to be held in Sematan/Lundu area. “We don’t want our place to be dirty. We want the place to be nice and beautiful,” he assured.
At the celebration that was supported by all 59 associations and guilds from the area, Wan Junaidi also announced that the government had agreed to give a piece of land adjacent to the town to be used as Chinese cemetery.
“The Chinese local leaders here had come to me and requested that the piece of land be used as a cemetery. Since the land owner was willing to sell and Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan has approved for the land to be turned into a cemetery, now I am telling you that you have what you requested. This is what BN does. We help solve problems for the people,” he said.
On the Tanjong Datu by-election, he explained the absence of BN candidate Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu during the campaign was because she was in mourning.
“According to Islamic tradition, a widow whose husband has passed away must stay home for four months and 10 days (130 days) unless there is an emergency. She is in the mourning period and that is why she can’t be with us. Or else, she will be around. She sends her regards and asks for your support,” he told the crowd.