HAKAM Comment: What happened to the extended moratorium on bauxite mining of three months from the start of 2017 as announced by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in December 2016?
KUANTAN, Feb 21 — The presence of two excavators in Kampung Jeram in Beserah here has left local residents in a quandary as they fear bauxite mining activities are taking place while the moratorium period is still on.
The People’s Movement to Stop Bauxite Pollution (Geram) chairman, Ali Akbar Othman said the villagers realised the existence of the machinery in the village yesterday evening and they were eager to get answers from the contractor today.
He said after discussing, the contractor claimed he received a letter of approval to load and clear the bauxite stockpile from the mine.
“However, a check at the site revealed several new digging sites. We also asked the contractor to show us the letter and permit which he claimed he had obtained but he said the documents are with the land owner.
“As such we want them to stop work and gave them until tomorrow to submit the documents to verify claims that approval from the authorities had been obtained,” he said when contacted here.
For the record, the bauxite mining moratorium started on January 15, 2016 and was extended several times with the latest period expected to expire on March 31.
Ali Akbar commended the contractor for being brave enough to meet and discuss with the villagers when he was interrogated by various quarters who demanded to see the approval letter.
Meanwhile, Beserah assemblyman Andansura Rabu who joined in the interrogation urged the relevant agencies, especially the Land and Mines Department, to update the status of the mine.
He said if the mine was operating illegally on the private land, firm action should be taken to avoid untoward incidents there.
“We are protesting because even the roads which have been damaged by the bauxite trucks are still not repaired. The state government must clarify the matter immediately,” he said. — Bernama