Malaysia: Jinjang residents turn to Suhakam

Residents protesting a proposed waste-to-energy facility in Jinjang have urged the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to intervene and put a stop to the project.

Tak-nak Incinerator Action Committee (KTI) chairman Isaiah Jacob said no consultation was done with residents before the plant was proposed and its location “is too close for comfort”.

“The residential areas are only about 500m away, and there are more than 1,000 houses within 1km (of the proposed site),” Jacob told Suhakam before submitting a memorandum to the watchdog today.

The plant will use one of three methods to turn waste into energy – a thermal treatment plant (incinerator), anaerobic digester for organic waste or refuse derived fuel or materials recovery facility.

Jacob said the plant is expected to handle approximately 1,000 tonnes of waste daily, which would certainly involve heavy industrial grade chemicals and equipment.

This may lead to congestion on the MRR2, which is the main access road to the proposed plant.

Chemical waste from the plant is also a health concern as it contains dioxin, which may cause cancer, asthma and birth defects.

Meanwhile, Jacob also announced that KTI is organising a “Mega-walk” to submit a memorandum and petition to Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib and to Parliament on Nov 25.

Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam said the commission has no authority over the project but could facilitate negotiations between the government and the residents.

“We will be contacting the Prime Minister’s Department, City Hall, and Housing, Health and Environment Ministries; we will also be visiting the place to get a better picture of the situation,” Nayagam said after receiving the memorandum.

He said the government should have consulted the residents in line with United Nations standards before making the proposal and said he will find out why it was not done.