Concession Agreement for the Kepong Incinerator project must be publicly disclosed

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 10th of February, 2017

Concession Agreement for the Kepong Incinerator project must be publicly disclosed

It was reported in the Edge Weekly (January 30 to February 5, 2017) that three companies have been shortlisted for the controversial 1000 ton per day solid waste incinerator in Taman Beringin, Kepong. These three companies are Malaysia Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) in partnership with South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem Co, Cenviro Sbd Bhd (formerly UEM Environment Sdn Bhd) in partnership with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and DRB-Hicom in partnership with Malakoff Corp Bhd and Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. It was also reported that the concession agreement to build and operate this incinerator will be awarded in March, 2017.

Concession agreements in Malaysia, from lopsided toll contracts to the Express Rail Link (ERL) contract that allowed for unreasonable price hikes, have almost always favoured the concession holders at the expense of the consumer / user. The nature of many of these lopsided contracts were only discovered after they were signed, usually when the government has had to explain why they had to allow these concession holders to increase the price of tolls or train tickets by large and unreasonable increments.

This incinerator will be the largest incinerator of any kind in Malaysia. Recall that much smaller scale incinerator projects in Pulau Pangkor, Pulau Langkawi and Cameron Highlands have failed in the past, at great cost to the federal government. The nature by which these contracts were awarded to the company, XCN Technology, was called into question by the Auditor General. If the Kepong Incinerator project fails, the cost to the taxpayer will be far greater than the smaller scale failures in the abovementioned locations. Recall also that this is the second time that the Kepong incinerator project has been tendered out because there was only one company that made a final submission in the first round of tenders.

In order to avoid the mistakes of the past, I call upon the Minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, to disclose the details of the Kepong incinerator concession agreement including the projected cost of the project, the tipping fee that will be charged to DBKL, the conditions of the waste guarantee to the company, the length of the concession period, the performance indicators and the terms by which the government can take over the project if it fails to deliver.

In addition, the Minister must convince the raykat the need for the Kepong incinerator given that KL has started the separation of municipal waste which should decrease the overall amount of waste that needs to be disposed.

Failure to do so will only invite more protests from the residents and the high probability that the taxpayer and the ratepayers in KL will end up footing the bill for another lopsided concession agreement.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

The Government should ratify the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol along with the ratification of the Paris Agreement

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 27th of October 2016

The Government should ratify the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol along with the ratification of the Paris Agreement

In the parliamentary question and answer session on Tuesday, 25th of October, 2016, I asked the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment to explain when the government will ratify the 2nd commitment period (CP2) of the Kyoto Protocol also known as the Doha Amendment.[1]

In his verbal reply to me in parliament, the Minister said that the focus should be on the Paris Agreement instead of the Kyoto Agreement. (The clip of his verbal reply can be found here on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mlFP-i7cQQ&feature=youtu.be). His reply was given coverage in the Star newspaper the following day (See below)

The Minister also said that countries were no longer interested in the Doha Amendment since only 70 countries (as of September 2016) had ratified this amendment which requires 144 countries (or 3 quarters of all the parties to the Kyoto Protocol) to ratify.[2] He highlighted the fact that the United States and Canada are among the two countries who have not signed up to the Doha Amendment as proof that ratifying this amendment was no longer a priority.

It would be a mistake for Malaysia to simply give up on ratifying the Doha Amendment and simply rush to ratify the Paris Agreement for the following reasons:

1. The Doha Amendment Commitment Period (CP2) runs from 2013 to 2020 while the implementation of Paris Agreement will only start in 2021.[3] Therefore, there is no overlapping between the CP2 of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. So, while waiting for the Paris Agreement to ‘kick-in’, the global community needs to ensure that measures to decrease carbon emissions continue to take place and that would happened only when the CP2 enters in force. It was quite shocking for me to hear the Minister say that there is an overlap between the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. This does not bode well given that this Minister and his Ministry is leading the negotiations on behalf of the country for an agreement that will have far-reaching environmental, social and economic impacts on us.

2. Even if the Doha Amendment does not enter into force because an insufficient number of countries have ratified it, Malaysia should not dismiss it from a principle and moral stand point. In fact, we should have ratify yesteryear to contribute to the numbers needed to ensure that it comes into force sooner rather than later. Precisely because only developed countries have obligation to cut their emissions under CP2, it is painless for Malaysia as a developing country to ratify CP2. This is also in line with holding the developed world accountable to its historical responsibilities towards climate change. And CP2 is that last chance.

3. Malaysia should act as a responsible global citizen and do its part in ratifying the Doha Amendment, just like 7 out of 10 countries in ASEAN.[4] Besides Malaysia, the only other two countries in ASEAN which have not ratified the Doha Amendment are Laos and Myanmar which are from the category of Least Developed Countries (LDC). Is Malaysia regressing from an advanced developing country to become a LDC? Can Malaysia be an effective advocate on climate change and other environmental policies in ASEAN if it does not even ratify the Doha Amendment?

4. Ratifying the Doha Amendment would show that Malaysia has a sustained and consistent plan towards addressing climate change beyond just going to New York to take part in high profile signing ceremonies.

I call upon the Cabinet to give approval for the Government to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol along with the ratification of the Paris Agreement.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

[1] http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/doha_amendment/items/7362.php

[2] https://unfccc.int/files/kyoto_protocol/doha_amendment/application/pdf/frequently_asked_questions_doha_amendment_to_the_kp.pdf

[3] http://www.wri.org/faqs-about-how-paris-agreement-enters-force and https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2016/CN.735.2016-Eng.pdf

[4] https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XXVII-7-c&chapter=27&clang=_en

Severe cuts to the Monitoring and Enforcement Budget of the Department of Environment (DOE) needs to be reversed

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 27th of October, 2016

Severe cuts to the Monitoring and Enforcement Budget of the Department of Environment (DOE) needs to be reversed

One of the regular complaints that I receive from residents in my constituency is the issue of noise and emissions of smells by factories which sometimes operate late into the night. When these complaints were highlighted to the Department of Environment (DOE), which oversees the monitoring of these factories, the usual response I receive is that they don’t have enough enforcement officers and a sufficient budget to carry out their monitoring and enforcement duties. More recently, the serious pollution of Sungai Semantan and Sungai Semenyih which resulted in water disruptions affected more than half a million households, was traced back to illegal discharge and dumping of pollutants into the river by irresponsible parties.

At a time when more resources should be dedicated to monitoring and enforcement, I was shocked to learn that the budget for these activities have been cut from RM105 million in 2016 to RM76.5 million in 2017, a reduction of RM28.5 million or a 27% cut (See Figure 1 below)

Figure 1: Cut in the budget for Monitoring and Enforcement Activities, 2016 to 2017

This large cut in the budget for monitoring and enforcement activities will inevitably jeopardise the ability of the DOE to effectively monitor the illegal dumping of pollutants into our rivers by factories and other irresponsible parties.

At a time when our rivers are increasingly vulnerable to pollution, the monitoring and enforcement budget should be INCREASED by 30% rather than cut by almost 30%. These cuts are unacceptable and I call upon the Finance Minister to reverse these cuts and increase the allocation for monitoring and enforcement activities under the Department of Environment.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang