Penang did not shoo illegal plastic waste operators away to other states, says exco man


PENANG will continue its crackdown on illegal plastic waste processing facilities, says state Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

He said enforcement was ongoing as they have been visiting those factories without a permit for recycling the materials.

“We asked them to shut down and after they had shut down, they moved to other places. We’re keeping track of them, like those in Sungai Petani, Gurun and Kulim. We informed our counterparts that these factories have shifted,” Phee told reporters in Komtar today.

“It’s not the government that shifted them; it’s on their own. We did not shoo them away. We did our enforcement part under the state’s jurisdiction.

“We told them enough is enough, you want to operate in Penang, please follow the house rules. It’s so tight that so many of them are not able to carry on. They voluntarily closed down. They have to close down. We go by the book.”

Phee was asked about the shifting of the plastic waste to Kedah after the operators in Penang were ordered to shut down during a press conference in Komtar.

The press conference was held by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to announce three matters – the Penang Esports Festival 2019, the Doctor on Call mobile application and the RM8.8 billion of total approved manufacturing investment recorded by the state in the first quarter of this year.

Phee said they have received instruction from the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change to conduct a full investigation on the 265 containers filled with plastic waste stranded at the North Butterworth Container Terminal last month.

“After the investigation, those that have to be sent back (to the country of origin) will be sent back. We want the government to give us the assurance that when the consignment is sent back, it will arrive at the port of landing,” said Phee.

“Of course, I welcome the representatives of the countries that have been named to come forward and talk to us. Legally or morally, they have got to be responsible. One representative came and when we showed her the evidence, she fully agreed some are municipal waste.”

Phee said he would submit a report to the Penang executive council today and also to the ministry.

Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud
Video by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis