Environmental NGO Suggests Malaysia Bauxite Moratorium Be Extended

Environmental NGO Suggests Malaysia Bauxite Moratorium Be Extended
Level luffing crane and hopper (center-left of the picture) operating side-by-side at the multi-purpose wharf, 25 July 2007. Source: Wikimedia

Malaysia’s National Treasures Protection Society (Peka) Pahang chapter president Khaidir Ahmad says that the ongoing bauxite moratorium should be extended due to the failure of the Kuantan port authority to meet the February 15th deadline for clearing the port of stockpiled bauxite. Runoff from the stockpiled bauxite led to serious pollution of Kuantan’s harbor waters.

“The first phase of moratorium is to clear all the stockpiles at the port area, but they have only cleared half of it,” Khaidir told a local news outlet. “That’s why we have no confidence that they will meet the target for the second phase. If they cannot meet the dateline, they will have to extend [the moratorium] for another three months. But we will see what the minister says when he makes an assessment on the ground,” he went on.

Khaidir said he felt that the port authority had made an effort at clearing the harbor of bauxite, but his opinion was that they were not “very serious” about the clean-up.

“They are supposed to clear everything but now they only clear about 50% and if you go to the port area, there is still mess at the port,” Khaidir said.

According to Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, the second phase of the clean-up, from February 15 to March 15, was to clear stockpiles outside the port area. The final phase, from March 15 to April 15, would be to relocate the remaining bauxite to a central area.

“The central stockpile should be identified by PTG [Land and Mines Office], but it’s not done yet. One way to clear the stockpile is by sending it to China,” she said.

“For example, now that they have to clear the stockpiles from outside the port, will the process [of transportation] continue to contaminate [the environment]? The roads have already been cleaned, what are the procedures to follow? Will the transport owners follow whatever regulations if there are any?” asked Fuziah.