Media Statement by DAP MP for Bentong Wong Tack on 11 August 2018:
No compromise to finding a solution to cyanide pollutionin industrial mining
On 9 August, the concerns of the villagers of Bukit Koman, Raub in Pahang were raised in the first Dewan Rakyat sitting since Pakatan Harapan wrested federal power on May 9.
The answers provided by the Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources Dr Xavier Jayakumar have disappointed not only the Bukit Koman’s Ban Cyanide Action Committee but also ignited discontent among many Malaysians that have long followed the struggle of the activists, judging from the views that had been expressed on the social media.
Although the mine has since discontinued its operation, the Bukit Koman residents are still facing a cyanide contaminated gold mine with toxic residues lingering in their surroundings.
As a MP that has made environmental protection and justice as my core business, I, therefore, raised their long-standing worries and longing for a solution to make things right in the august house.
I’d also enquired if the government intend to ban the use of cyanide in the gold mining industry and if indeed the economic benefits from such commercial activities outweigh the cost of a clean environment and public health.
No doubt, the reply from the Minister was disheartening. However, as most of us are still new to the administration of the country, I would like to give the benefits of doubt to the Minister that he was not given the full picture by his officials.
Therefore, I have taken the approach to alert him (in the corridor after the session) by citing a particular misinformed fact with the intention to illustrate the importance for Ministers to verify answers provided by their respective ministries’ official.
As a government backbencher, I believe it is also my duty to work with the ministers to find solutions to our shared problems. But that does not equal to being compromised.
I welcomed the Minister’s intention, conveyed to me in private, that he would be happy to inspect the mine in Bukit Koman to gain first-hand knowledge. The Bentong and Raubparliamentary teams will certainly provide the necessary assistance for the visit should he required it.
Finally, we look forward to work together with the relevant ministries to work towards an acceptable outcome for the Bukit Koman case and the lessons learnt will be applied to ensure that the remaining three mines elsewhere in Pahang will be managed in accordance to the highest sustainability requirements.