Published on: Wednesday, September 04, 2013
A scheduled inspection of sites, about 14km from Inanam town, for siltation ponds, stone crusher, workshop, a proposed 20-metre buffer zone, temporary earth drain, silt fence and a 50-metre check dam at various points of the three lots of land was abandoned.
The meeting at the site, initiated by the State Environmental Protection Department (JPAS), was attended by representatives of residents headed by Kionsom Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) Chairman, Pan Su Khiong.
The project proponent, Goltra Sdn Bhd, headed by its property manager Simon Wong, was accompanied by a team of consultants armed with a term of reference (TOR) on the proposed quarry operation.
The company, if given a licence, will carry out typical quarry operation, among others, drilling, blasting, crushing and transportation of rocks, with a production capacity of 42,000 metric tonnes per month.
Also in attendance were Datuk Arshad Idris, Sepanggar Member of Parliament Datuk Jumat Idris' representative, Inanam Community Development Officer (CDO), Sabin Guntaliban, officers from City Hall, the Geosience Department and People's Development Leader Unit (UPKR) Inanam.
JPAS officer Elen Empau, who led the meeting, disclosed that the company had submitted its TOR, which would be among the criteria to be considered whether an Environment Impact Assessment can be approved to Goltra.
She said the gathering was called as her department had received reports that there were an undisclosed number of villagers who supported the quarry to be given a licence to operate.
This was however shot down by Pan, who informed the meeting that a similar meeting last year, attended by officers from the same departments, had strongly objected to the company's operation.
"Thus the site inspection today is of no significance as the objection by the villagers stay," Pang pointed out. This preliminary objection by Pan received support from all the villagers present.
As for the said support for the quarry operations, Pan disclosed that it was discovered that those who supported the quarry had interests and benefits from the company.
Arshad also joined in to say that although he was representing Jumat, he was also an affected party as he is a resident of Kampung Kionsom, has a house and lands in the village.
He added that the Sepanggar MP's office supported the people's objection to the company to operate the quarry.
Sabin also told the meeting that the objection by the kampung folks was based on a strong ground as they had a bad experience with the impacts of operations by the previous quarry operators.
There had been serious soil erosion and sedimentation in waterways that caused mud flooding downstream of Sungai Inanam. This river flow across several villages up to Likas Bay.
"I agree that inspection of the site now is no longer necessary and I hope the government departments concerned take a serious note on this matter," the CDO said.
Mud flooding caused by previous operation had last year washed away two houses, a wooden bridge and several suspension bridges in Kampung Kionsom.
It was fortunate that the flooding happened at daytime that residents were able to evacuate to safety.
Still visible soil erosion caused by illegal diversion of several small intermittent rivers from the quarry to man-made drain beside the road is a vast landslide of a land belonging to retired Land and Survey Department officer Valentine Bingkasan.
Meanwhile, affected resident Jack Ginuhang pointed out that the TOR had inadvertently left out the popular tourist resorts of Mari Mari Village Heritage, Nuluhan Garden Villa and schools at villages along Sungai Inanam as the main affected places by soil erosion caused by the quarry.
Instead, he pointed out that the company listed SK Babagon Toki and SK Poring Poring which are situated at the other side of the hill facing the Babagon Dam.
"How can the river flow up the hill and affect these schools and also uphill the villages of Bambangan Baru, Babagon Toki and Kolosunan?" he asked.
"And also Sungai Kiukad to which water from the quarry site directly flows will not pass through Kampung Kobuni," Ginuhang said.
Several other villagers voiced their support and finally the site inspection was abandoned.