Minister of Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government misleading the people when he said that the bad smells in Taman Beringin will disappear after an incinerator is built there

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 11th of July, 2014

In a press conference yesterday, Minister for Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government, Dato’ Abdul Rahman Dahlan, said that opposition to the proposed incinerator in Taman Beringin, Kepong, was based on emotions and half-baked facts.[1] This is a baseless accusation by the Minister as the opposition to the incinerator in Taman Beringin, Kepong has always been based on facts and figures. If the Minister took the trouble to review my press statements on this matter, he would see that I refer to guidelines from the Department of Environment, facts and figures from KL Draft Plan 2020, the Auditor General’s report and even from his own ministry, to back up my concerns regarding the proposed incinerator.[2]

As for his accusation that the Selangor state government also has plans to build an incinerator, I refer him to the reply by Selangor Exco, Teng Chang Khim on the 25th of November, 2013 where he said that the option of building an incinerator is still being studied. A three person committee comprising Teng, Dr Ahmad Yunus and Elizabeth Wong is still studying the issue of waste management more generally.[3] (Appendix 1) There has not been any tender documents issued or any site identified for the construction of an incinerator in Selangor.

The Minister also said that “we will upgrade the waste transfer station and put in a negative pressure chamber to ensure no more foul odour is emitted from the garbage collected there.” If this is the case, then it will be good news for the residents in Kepong who have had to bear with the rubbish smell coming from the transfer station for many years. But the minister is silent on how this negative pressure chamber will be built in the transfer station when there are no plans to shut down the transfer station when the proposed incinerator is being built. The waste transfer station is located in one part of Taman Beringin and the proposed incinerator is located in a separate site in Taman Beringin. It states very clearly on pg. 26 of the Waste-to-Energy memorandum given to potential bidders that the “Kepong Solid Waste Transfer Station would continue to operate as usual during the construction of the Facility” (i.e. the incinerator) (Appendix 2). Is it possible for a negative pressure chamber to be built at the transfer station without shutting it down? The Minister has to clarify.

One of the main reasons for the bad smells coming from the Taman Beringin Transfer Station is due to the leachate problem from the wet organic waste collected. The Minister is silent on how the building of the incinerator can help in getting rid of the leachate problem.

In other words, there is no assurance that the bad smells will disappear in Taman Beringin after the incinerator is built.

Finally, the Minister has said in Parliament that he would make all the documents pertaining to the tender process for the incinerator open to the public. I urge him to make the Request for Proposal (RfP) for the Taman Beringin project to be made available to the public for the sake of transparency. I also urge him to disclose the shortlist of companies which have been chosen to take part of the tender process in the interest of transparency and full disclosure. If he fails to do disclose the RfP and the information about the shortlisted companies, he will not only be going against his own word but also raise doubts that there is something that he is hiding in regards to the bidding process.

Appendix 1: Reply in the Selangor State Assembly by YB Teng Chang Khim on the issue of incinerators in Selangor

Y.B. TUAN SULAIMAN BIN ABDUL RAZAK: Terima kasih. Dari segi, saya nak tanya Sungai Pinang mengenai pelupusan sampah. Apakah Kerajaan Negeri di masa akan datang mempunyai rancangan untuk membina incinerator untuk pelupusan sampah-sampah ini?

Y.B. DATO’ TENG CHANG KHIM: Tuan Speaker, sebenarnya ini adalah soalan berikutnya akan saya jawab. Tapi secara ringkasnya, itu adalah di antara yang dikaji. Kita belum membuat kepastian kerana buat masa ini ada pelbagai, di seluruh dunia ada pelbagai cara untuk melupuskan sampah termasuk menggunakan cara pelupusan yang paling asli, yang paling senang, yang paling murah, yang paling ekonomik adalah dengan menggunakan landfill. Itu yang paling senang. Tapi sekiranya kita hendak negara ini lebih maju lagi kerana memandangkan tapak yang ada memang terhad khususnya di negeri seperti Selangor ini, incinerator adalah di antara cara yang sedang dikaji kerana ia perlu dilihat daripada pelbagai aspek. Terima kasih.

Itu sedang dilihat, dikaji oleh satu jawatankuasa, task force yang dianggotai oleh saya sendiri bersama dengan Y.B. Sijangkang dan Y.B. Bukit Lanjan. Bersama-sama dengan pegawai kita yang menguruskan soal sampah ini. Terima kasih.

Appendix 2: Pg.26 of the Waste to Energy Information Memorandum stating that the Kepong Transfer Station will operate as usual during the construction of the Facility