Why did the Ministry of Urban-Well Being, Housing and Local Government give a new 3 year contract worth RM3.56 million to the same company, XCN Technology, to continue to mismanage the Pangkor incinerator?

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 12th of November, 2014

The recently released report by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) on the construction and management of four small scale waste incinerators in Pangkor, Langkawi, Cameron Highlands and Pulau Tioman was a damning indictment on the authorities involved in approving the contracts for the construction of these incinerators.

The PAC found that the Ministry had failed in its responsibility to do the proper due diligence in selecting the technology proposed by XCNT especially given that past prototypes used by the same company in the Kuala Terengganu City Council (MPKT) had failed and the prototype in UiTM Shah Alam was only burning waste paper. The PAC also found that the experts from UTM and from the Malaysian Industry Government Group of High Technology (MiGHT) also failed their responsibility in evaluation XCNT’s technology.

The PAC also recommend that the appropriate action be taken against the errors made by the Secretary General of the Ministry for Housing and Local Government, the Director of the National Solid Waste Management Department, XCNT in its capacity as the main contractor, and Prof Dr Rozainee Taib from UTM and Dr Sivapalan Katsiravale, Principal Analyst from MiGHT who were involved in selecting, planning and implementing these incinerator projects.

The Auditor General’s Report 2012 also revealed significant shortcomings in the operation of the Pulau Pangkor Incinerator. On the 15th of September 2014, members of Kami Tak-Nak Insinerator (KTI), an NGO which is campaigning against the proposed incinerator in Taman Beringin, Kepong, visited the Pulau Pangkor incinerator and found that the problems identified in the National Auditor’s report such as the failure to separate waste before incineration and the improper disposal of the fly and bottom ash were still present. (See pictures in Figure 2 below)

Despite the continued shortcomings of the XCNT in managing the Pulau Pangkor incinerator, it was given a three year contract by the Ministry of Urban-Well Being, Housing and Local Government starting from 2014 which totals RM3.56m to continue to operate this incinerator. (See Figure 1 below)

Figure 1: Three year contract worth RM3.56m given to XCNT starting from 2014

The awarding of the contract to operate and maintain the Pulau Pangkor incinerator shows a complete disregard of the blatant flouting of environmental standards by XCNT by the Ministry of Urban Well Being, Housing and Local Government and demonstrates that the Ministry has no regard to the well-being of the residents in Pulau Pangkor. Despite the Auditor General’s report and the PAC meetings, it seems that the Ministry has not learned its lessons and continues to operate as before.

Figure 2: Photos taken from the Pangkor Incinerator visit on the 15th of September 2014

Mountains of trash piling up at the incinerator site

Unsorted rubbish inside the incinerator compound

Accumulation of bottom ash at the Pulau Pangkor incinerator