Fri, 29 Sep 2023


Can’t afford another Mamut disaster: Liew
Published on: Friday, May 05, 2023
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Can’t afford another Mamut disaster: Liew
Liew (seated at left) chairing the first meeting of MPAS for this year.
Kota Kinabalu: The Council of Environment Protection (MPAS) must ensure no repeat of the Mamut copper mining fiasco which destroyed the livelihoods in Ranau through toxic pollution from unregulated mining and supervision in the 1970s and 80s. “Any future mining activities must comply with the provisions stipulated in the Mineral Development Act 1994 (Act 525). We must safeguard our environment for posterity by adopting good practices,” said Datuk Christina Liew, when chairing the first meeting, Tuesday.

 Liew, who is State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, was briefed on “Operational Mining Scheme” by the Deputy Director of Minerals and Geosciences Malaysia (Sabah) Dee Dee Daulip with a presentation by Assistant Director Jexson Philip.

 “Any operational mining scheme has to be approved by the Director prior to development work or mining activity under Section 10 of the Mineral Development Act 1994. For non-compliance, legal action may be taken against the mining licence holder. A heavy fine or jail sentence or both may be imposed on the offender if convicted,” Jexson said.

 The Council plays an important role in advising the State Government on matters relating to implementation of the Environment Protection Enactment  (EPAS) 2002 which is enforced by the Department of Environment Protection (EPD). It is also responsible for other matters pertaining to environmental management and sustainable development in the State. These include the State Environment Policy that contains 83 strategies based on five aspects, namely land, air, water, biodiversity and social dimension.

“Every ministry, department and agency needs to be proactive and committed in working together to address environmental issues in Sabah,” she said.

 She said through MPAS, recommendations can be made to advise the government on how to tackle environmental issues and provide direction to ensure sustainable development in Sabah.

“For instance, a clean and healthy environment is an asset that attracts tourists to Sabah. Do use your expertise in your respective fields in seeking feasible solutions to environmental problems,” she advised.

 Director of EPD Vitalis Moduying, who is the Secretary of MPAS, facilitated the meeting agenda which was attended by Council members, including the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Datuk Mohd Yusrie Abdullah.

 Among the issues discussed in the meeting were hill cutting activities, the management of effluents and solid waste, scheduled waste and sewage, and the importance of protecting the environment in mining activities.

 The Minister appreciated comments and suggestions by members. Among them were UMS Professor Dr Felix Tongkul; NGO activist Datuk Dr Junaidi Payne; Robert Stidi (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry); Amirul Aripin (Director, Department of Environment); Musa Salleh (Head of Sustainable Forest Management Division, Sabah Forestry Department, Sandakan); Mohd Faizal Izuddin Mohd Hanan (Legal Officer, State Attorney-General’s Chambers); Stephen Moligan (Senior Officer, Natural Resources Office, Chief Minister’s Department); Johnny Samson (representing the Ministry of Local Government and Housing); and Robert Robin Millip (representing the Director of Land and Survey Department).

 Meanwhile, Director of Sabah Sewerage Services Department (JPP Sabah) Jennieve Peter briefed Liew on its role and efforts in improving the sewage system in the state to protect public health, water sources and the environment.

 According to her, the Sewerage Services Enactment, which was passed in the State Legislative Assembly in 2017, was gazetted in June last year. “JPP Sabah is under the purview of the Ministry of Public Works, Sabah.”

 On the issues and challenges facing the department, Jennieve said these include lack of manpower and the need for more financial allocation to run the department’s programmes. “Illegal structures (example, water tank installed at the back alley of shop lots) and building extensions are hampering the department’s operations and maintenance work. Dumping of rubbish in the underground drains is clogging the sewage system.”

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