Pahang’s head of government told local media this weekend that the state’s current moratorium on bauxite mining could possibly be extended through August of next year.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said that a proposal is currently being floated that would have the moratorium extended until the completion of the 14th Malaysian general election (GE14) and the seating of the government elected at that time.
The current parliament, which was seated in June 2013 will run through late June 2018 unless dissolved on a motion of no confidence or at the request of the Prime Minister. GE14 will occur on August 24, 2018 unless an election is needed before then due to the dissolution of the current parliament.
Although state parliaments may legally be dissolved independent of the federal parliament, tradition holds that state parliaments are only dissolved along with the federal parliament.
“Whatever decision we make must benefit the people,” explained Adnan, emphasizing that the decision was not a political move as, in his opinion, the state government’s mandate lasts only until the next election.
Adnan said that bauxite mining may be restarted if all parties agreed to abide by the rules now in place.
“If we allow the mining activities now and if everybody observes the law, then there shouldn’t be any problem,” he said. “We are just worried that if we allow mining to resume, some unscrupulous contractors will cause problems again.”
“For now, let bauxite mining be put on hold,” Adnan went on. “After the general election, it is up to the government of that day to decide.”
The current ban upon bauxite mining was instituted fifteen days into 2016. The most recent in a series of extensions runs the ban through Friday.
Adnan also addressed allegations of illicit mining, promising to investigate such instances where known.
“But we cannot rule out that perhaps operators are trying to clear their stockpile and the lorries seen are just transporting bauxite to the port,” he said. “Nevertheless, the authority to issue permits and enforcement is with the minister.”
“This does not mean I am washing my hands off this,” Adnan concluded. “I am actually relieved that the Federal Government stepped in to help us solve this problem.”