Monday, July 09, 2007

mega incinerator plant project scrapped!...

a good news?!?...

It’s official: Mega-incinerator scrapped
Beh Lih Yi
Jul 6, 07 11:02am Malaysiakini

The controversial RM1.5 billion Broga incinerator project is definitely off.Residents of Kampung Broga in Semenyih, who had fought long and hard against the project, finally got the confirmation through a letter from the government yesterday.Today, the same letter was submitted to the Shah Alam High Court where a suit by the residents against the government demanding full disclosure of the project was to have been heard.

However, following the latest development, the residents have agreed to discontinue the suit, which was filed by resident Alice Lee in 2003, within seven days.

The confirmation letter, undersigned by senior federal counsel Suzana Atan, who is representing the government in the suit, was sent to the residents’ lawyer T Uma Parvathy (right) yesterday.

Ministry confirms letter

The one-paragraph letter, dated yesterday, read: “(The Attorney-General’s) Chambers has been informed by the relevant ministry that the project, the subject matter in this action, has been terminated.

“In relation to that, the Chambers believes this action (the suit) is now academic.”

Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Ting - whose ministry oversees the project - could not be reached for comment.

However, an aide to the minister confirmed that the “content in the letter is the government’s stand.”

At the brief court proceeding this morning, it began with Uma informing the court of the residents’ intention to discontinue with the suit upon receiving the letter.

As the letter did not state any reasons for the cancellation, it led justice Suriadi Halim Omar, who was seeking clarification from Suzana, to quip whether it was a ‘state secret’.

Suzana replied that she had no idea and the judge quipped that this was a ‘neutral answer’.

Justice Suriadi, who heard the matter in the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya as he has been elevated to the Court of Appeal, also awarded costs to the residents.

Claim for compensation

Apart from Suzana, who appeared for the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry (as it was known then), Zauyah Loth Khan represented the Selangor menteri besar and the state’s Land and Minerals Department director, who were named as defendants in the suit.

News of the project being shelved first surfaced in August last year when Singapore Business Times quoted “businessmen familiar with the project” as saying that it had been cancelled.

While government sources malaysiakini spoke to also confirmed that the project had been scrapped, there had been no official confirmation amid fears that it could erupt into a diplomatic spat between Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur.

The incinerator project, touted as one of the biggest of its kind in the region, was undertaken by a consortium comprising Japan’s Ebara Corporation and local partner Hartasuma Sdn Bhd.

Residents had protested against the project on the grounds that it posed a serious threat to their health, the environment and their livelihood. They also challenged the merits of the proposed technology from Japan.

The consortium had reportedly filed a claim for compensation amounting to RM500 million following the cancellation of the project, but this could not be verified.

Originally, the incinerator was to be sited in Selangor’s Puchong but a protest from residents in the area forced the government to relocate it five years ago to Broga, a sparsely populated village 60km southeast of Kuala Lumpur.

Now that idea has been incinerated too.

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