The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) declared earlier this week that the seizure order covering 10 million metric tons of bauxite in Pahang has been withdrawn.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Azam Baki advised local media that the withdrawal of the order is the product of discussions among his bureau, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, the Minerals and Geoscience Department, and the Pahang government. Replacing the order will be new rules aimed at preventing illegal bauxite mining in Pahang.
Azam went on to say that the new rules are meant to reduce corruption in the bauxite-removal process as well.
“It is also hoped that the decision will help in bringing down incidences of graft and abuse of power, especially those related to bauxite mining activities in the state.
“The withdrawal of the bauxite seizure order is to enable miners to remove their stockpiles while the moratorium is still in force.”
“It must be noted that the withdrawal is not tantamount to allowing new mining activities to take place in the state,” Azam warned.
He continued by saying that the miners will be obliged to sign a pledge to shun bribery and corruption before they are allowed to legally remove bauxite from the stockpiles.
“The MACC will work with the ministry and the state government to monitor the clearance of the bauxite stockpiles, and to ensure that no new mining activities take place in areas not allowed by the state government.
“If any party is found to be involved in illegal bauxite mining, action will be taken against them under the MACC Act 2009 and the Penal Code.”
The mining of bauxite ore was officially halted fifteen days into last year after locals voiced concerns regarding the unscrupulous methods used by some miners in the area and the pollution that resulted. The moratorium has been extended several times, the latest of which will have it run through the end of this year.