Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh has urged the Water, Land, Natural Resources Ministry to release more information about the upcoming lifting of the bauxite mining moratorium in Pahang.
While she acknowledged that the minister, Xavier Jeyakumar, is under a lot of pressure to lift the three-year moratorium, she said the decision should include informing the public on the details of the new standard operating procedure (SOP), as well as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the affected bauxite mines.
“There is a concern here. This SOP the minister has mentioned, this needs to be released to stakeholders, including the public as they are the most affected, not just government or agencies, and it needs to be disclosed before the moratorium is lifted,” said Fuziah, who is also a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, as reported by Malay Mail.
The SOP for processing ores needs to be disclosed, she insisted, as bauxite mining will lead to wastewater containing heavy metals.
“I am concerned about bauxite processing. When the earth which contains heavy metals are processed, there is a fear they will enter the rivers (and contaminate them).
“There was an issue of enforcement in the past,” she said.
In 2015, she pointed out, some rivers were contaminated with heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic.
For bauxite mining to become sustainable, Fuziah said this would depend on the federal government’s SOP, as well as the Pahang state government’s enforcement methods.
Xavier previously said the moratorium on bauxite mining and export, which is ending on March 31, will not be extended though there will be a new SOP and tighter enforcement of regulatory laws.
The moratorium was implemented in January 2016.