Thursday, July 24, 2008

Power corrupts PR ? -... now closing factories..seizing land....

2 "illegal" factories closed down immediately. Land to be taken back because breach of the land usage conditions. -- I would have expected it from some BN-run state government, but not from Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Government - worse still, the Sinar Harian report tells us that this was the announcement by one Elizabeth Wong ( a former human rights activist and advocate..).

How sad it is that people seem to change so fast? What's that saying about power and corruption?? [ I am basing it just on a newspaper report, which we all know may sometimes not be accurate)

Let me state the concerns I have about that report.

1) The order is for closing down of that factories IMMEDIATELY lacks compassion - what about the workers? What about the family and the dependent's of these workers - who may now not even get their July wages - or be able to find work very soon. How manly workers will be affected? Did the state government consider this matter at all? (warnings may have been given - summons may have been issued - but really, is there no other options that could be resorted to...note only 4 months since PR started to govern)

2) From the report, it seems that the 2 were registered companies - so maybe their factory was build on land that was not for factories (maybe because it was land that they owned and maybe 'economics' made it not feasible to pay additional money and rent a factory lot in some industrial estate some kilometers away ...). Maybe, it was a small 'factory' when it started doing some small little business ....and it expanded.

3) The report says that it was causing environmental pollution - was time given at all for them to overcome their 'environmental' problems -- or maybe they were just 2 small factories owned by not very influential persons....mmm

4) The shocking thing about the announcement reported in Sinar Harian was the "immediate" closure... surely time could have been given for the factory to re-locate, if it is so required. Surely, time should have been given for the factory workers to find new employment... Immediate closure -- it sounds so BN, so inhumane..

5) Then, the announcement that the land will be taken back because of the breach of the usage conditions -- is it not too draconian. Many people build their homes on "agriculture land" - So, is Pakatan Rakyat going to be concerned with the LAW and go HARD against all them who break the law? Come on... be human ...be different ...be compassionate ... Talk about warnings, penalties - but definitely not taking away the land from the smaller owners.

6) So, what is the message that Pakatan Rakyat is giving us -- obey the law?

I say, they are changing and a few of us must vigilantly serve as a "check and balance" to ensure that they do not transform into what they sought to replace in government...

Animal Farm by George Orwell comes to mind ...... and soon I believe, we will be seeing Pakatan Rakyat demolishing 'squatters' (urban settlers, being the better word) and refugee settlements because they were not build according to law. All their houses and contents may also be confiscated as well....And maybe, those land owners who allowed them to build their homes on their land will find Pakatan Rakyat Selangor taking back the land because there was a breach of land usage conditions....Beware too all of you who made extensions without approvals/permits...

If you do want to take back land - then you must take back the land that State government once gave to them Plantation Companies like Guthrie for a few dollars - which now these plantation companies are selling at about RM300,000 per acre - pure profit...but alas the workers are just pushed out homeless...Government given land to plantations should be taken back when they want to cease operations and/or convert and sell it...


Operasi dua kilang haram akan ditutup serta-merta: Elizabeth


SHAH ALAM - Dua kilang yang beroperasi secara haram di negeri ini akan ditutup serta-merta, kata Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap, Pelancongan, Hal Ehwal Pengguna dan Alam Sekitar, Elizabeth Wong.

Beliau berkata berkata, selain beroperasi secara haram, kilang berkenaan juga dilaporkan menjadi punca pencemaran di kawasan berkenaan.

“Keputusan ini dibuat berdasarkan laporan Jabatan Alam Sekitar (JAS) Selangor mengenai pencemaran yang dibuat oleh kilang terbabit,” katanya kepada sidang media selepas menghadiri Mesyuarat Mingguan Exco, di sini, semalam.

Menurut beliau, dua kilang tersebut iaitu Warisan Naning Distribution Sdn Bhd di Kuala Langat dan Rigid Metal Tech Sdn Bhd di Rantau Panjang, Klang didapati menjalankan operasi tanpa lesen.

“Kedua-duanya beroperasi secara haram serta mencemarkan alam sekitar serta menjejaskan kehidupan masyarakat sekeliling,” ujarnya.

Katanya, penutupan tersebut dibuat kerana pemiliknya ingkar dengan arahan serta prosedur yang telah ditetapkan oleh JAS.

“Kita telah banyak kali memberi amaran serta kompaun kepada mereka tetapi mereka masih berdegil serta melakukan pencemaran dan melanggar garis panduan yang kita tetapkan.

“Jadi, kita terpaksa membuat keputusan ini demi menjaga kebajikan serta kehidupan masyarakat sekeliling,” ujarnya.

Tambahnya, pihaknya akan mengeluarkan notis untuk merampas tanah berkenaan.

“Kita bukan sahaja akan menutup kilang tersebut tetapi juga akan merampas tanah berkenaan kerana telah melanggar syarat milik tanah yang termaktub dalam Kanun Tanah Negara,” katanya.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Charles,
For far too long, people have abused the system knowing full well that they have commited illegal acts. These people are not naive but have chosen to act selfishly at the expense of others and hope to get away with it.When caught, they scream bloody murder! I have no compassion for such people.
I am very sure, they must have received upteen visits and notices over the years. So they have all the time in the world to move to sites that are gazzeted for industrial use!
The only difference here is the authorities has applied the law without fear or favour. The owners must be accountable for their employees. So please, dont put the guilt trip on the authorities.

Anonymous said...

"3) The report says that it was causing environmental pollution - was time given at all for them to overcome their 'environmental' problems"

from the report
"Katanya, penutupan tersebut dibuat kerana pemiliknya INGKAR dengan arahan serta prosedur yang telah ditetapkan oleh JAS.

“Kita telah BANYAK KALI memberi amaran serta kompaun kepada mereka tetapi mereka masih berdegil serta melakukan pencemaran dan melanggar garis panduan yang kita tetapkan.

Scorpion said...

Charles,

Don't get worked up.
Look from the government side..how many summonses or warning has been issued, yet the owner is stubborn. Besides it an illegal factory.

You should blame the owner for causing anxiety to the workers not the government.

Don't criticise for the sake of it.
Before you "vomit" your opinion, view it from both sides.

Leithaisor said...

I think you have been a committed champion of some worthy underdog issues, and have done some sterling work over the many years you contributed your efforts.

However, this time, you seem to have lost your objectivity.

You asked, "So, what is the message that Pakatan Rakyat is giving us -- obey the law?" .

Even allowing for rhetorics on your part, to me the answer is "Yes!" . Would you rather the state government do the opposite - NOT obey the law?" Or apply the law selectively?

Was that not why the rakyat gave BN the mighy kick in their backsides in Selangor, and 3 other states?

The points you raised had merit ranging from some to none - compassion for the owrkers and such do matter, but that land owners like Guthrie now make massive profits from land they once bought for a song is of little bearing especially when the illegal factories had been warned and summoned many times. Worse the factories have been causing environmental and pollution problems.

Does the health and well-being of those living in the surrounding areas not matter? Is protecting the environment not important?

Have you been so focussed on the "small man" that you have lost vital balance and objectivity?

You even wrote "(warnings may have been given - summons may have been issued - but really, is there no other options that could be resorted to...note only 4 months since PR started to govern)".

Surely, but surely that was looking at the matter the wrong way?

Yes, the PR has only been in power for about 4 months, but in spite of that, Elizabeth Wong and the rest of the PR people running the state have managed to get some of the long-standing problems resoved for the good fo the Selangor folks.

Long-standing problems which the previous BN state government did not resolve.

I say again I think you have been doing a sterling job chamioning the underdog, but this time, I would strongly suggest that you take a step back, and reconsider your position on this issue.

Perhaps this is the question you should ask yourself - "So, what is the message that I want to send the Pakatan Rakyat -- obey the law and do their job promptly?"

hj jamaludin said...

Bismilah Hir Rahman Nir Rahim
Goodday Charles
i) Disebabkan seekor nyamok , satu kelambu terbakar .
ii)Disebabkan dua ekor nyamok , satu Selangor PR terbakar .

Saudara Charles kita nak selamatkan dua ekor nyamok aedes atau kesejahteraan rakyat Selangor.

Law is law .kalau di dunia you tak boleh ikut undang2 dunia macamana you nak hidup the others side of the world law.You should teach and support them how to comply the regulation state requirement.You build kilang ikut suka you je.Be reasonable lah sikit .Kalau lain kilang boleh ikut peratuaran undang2 PBT kenapa dua kilang yang sombong dan ingkar yang you nak pertahankan. Are you ok ?

Anonymous said...

It is not a question of "power corrupts.." it is a matter of law enforcement. People have to be taught to obey the law.Enforcement can be carried out more compassionately.It is better to have a law abiding government than a corrupt one. Imagine if these law enforcers can be bribed so that the illegals can carry on their lives as usual, we are not improving.
Corruption occurs when people have no respect for the law.
PR can give more time to the illegals to find a new way of doing business. Blame it on the last administration for lack of enforcement in the first place.

Eric Foo said...

Don't overreact lar, bro.

prussiablue said...

Charles,

I think you might have jump the gun. Look, first it's illegal and second it's contaiminating the environment, so what Lizzie did is totally right. If this is the BN government of course the demolition might not go on, not because Khir Toyo is more compansion but because there is money to grease the palm.

You got to do what you got to do, at least PR did it without fear or favour.

Nostradamus said...

Justifications to Answers on Jeyklls and Hydes Question 17.
Justifikasi kepada Jawapan atas Soalan 17 Jeykll dan Hyde.

17. The next PM of Malaysia will follow R.A.H.M.A.N theory. (Fact).
17. Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang berikutnya akan mengikuti teori R.A.H.M.A.N (Fakta).

Quatrain 17

In the month of summer games
When leaders are chosen and thrown away
Man starts to think again
Power, Gold and Glory to gain

Problems to glory are but hindrances
To be solve is such a simple game
Sleeping partner is to be cast away
Expendable are those as such before

http://Patek1472.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Yang salah adalah pemilik kilang tersebut tetapi para pekerja tidak salah. Tapi jangan lupa mereka semua adalah rakyat yang menderita akibat krisis ekonomi. Kalau PKR nak tutup kilang tersebut silakan tetapi harus sediakan pekerjaan baru bagi para pekerja di kilang tersebut supaya kebajikan mereka tidak terancam. Mereka adalah rakyat miskin dan sepatutnya PKR harus kebajikan mereka. Tindakan merampas tanah adalah tindakan yang tak tepat dan menjadi isu politik yang serius. Tutup kilang sahaja. Lakukan kelas kaunseling kepada pemilik tanah tersebut. Jangan rampas tanah. Jangan jadi pemerintah yang kejam dan diktator. Kalau begini kasar tindakan kamu..akhirnya rakyat akan sedar yang kamu tidak berperikemanusiaan dan tidak layak lagi memerintah dan masa PRU 13 ...kamu akan kalah teruk. "Undang tetap undang" tetapi "pertimbangan yang sewajarnya" adalah jawapan sebenar kepada masalah tersebut. Jangan bebankan lagi rakyat yang sekarang ini dah hidup menderita.

Anonymous said...

Message to polluters - clean up, shape up or get out!

Anonymous said...

According to the news: "The factories were given multiple warnings."

Dear Charles, how can you not see that the government already given them plenty of time to rethink and relocate?

You selectively chose not to highlight the fact that the factories were warned several times.

You call this upholding human rights and justice?

Anonymous said...

Mr Hector,
As you yourself have said, the MSM report may not be true. So why jump to such condemnations before getting all your facts? I feel as a respected man of law you should not jump to conclusions and be so judgemental.

Anonymous said...

Charles,
The actions taken by the PR should be praised and not criticized. They acted based on the law of rules and not on favourism, corruption, and cronyism. The reports have clearly indicated that due warnings have been given to the owner of the factories in the past. Why are you thinking about the factories but not the people who are staying in the surrounding area which are forced to live in such a terrible and polluted environment created by those factories.
By the way, you should also asking yourself why it takes so long for the closure of these factories after all these years, at times under the previous state government? Might it because of the "Duit Kopi" that keep it operating untill their closure.

Sean said...

Under BN, illegal factories could remain in business. Why? Don't need to be rocket scientist to figure this one out. This is the main reason there are countless illegal factories in this country. So don't blame PR for taking drastic action. These are long term solution to rid ourselves of corruption and pollution.

LeithaisoR said...

I think you have been a committed champion of some worthy underdog issues,
and have done some sterling work over the many years you contributed your
efforts.

However, this time, you seem to have lost your objectivity.

You asked, "So, what is the message that Pakatan Rakyat is giving us -- obey
the law?" .

Even allowing for rhetorics on your part, to me the answer is "Yes!" . Would
you rather the state government do the opposite - NOT obey the law?" Or
apply the law selectively?

Was that not why the rakyat gave BN the mighy kick in their backsides in
Selangor, and 3 other states?

The points you raised had merit ranging from some to none - compassion for
the owrkers and such do matter, but that land owners like Guthrie now make
massive profits from land they once bought for a song is of little bearing
especially when the illegal factories had been warned and summoned many
times. Worse the factories have been causing environmental and pollution
problems.

Does the health and well-being of those living in the surrounding areas not
matter? Is protecting the environment not important?

Have you been so focussed on the "small man" that you have lost vital
balance and objectivity?

You even wrote "(warnings may have been given - summons may have been
issued - but really, is there no other options that could be resorted
to...note only 4 months since PR started to govern)".

Surely, but surely that was looking at the matter the wrong way?

Yes, the PR has only been in power for about 4 months, but in spite of that,
Elizabeth Wong and the rest of the PR people running the state have managed
to get some of the long-standing problems resoved for the good fo the
Selangor folks.

Long-standing problems which the previous BN state government did not
resolve.

I say again I think you have been doing a sterling job chamioning the
underdog, but this time, I would strongly suggest that you take a step back,
and reconsider your position on this issue.

Perhaps this is the question you should ask yourself - "So, what is the
message that I want to send the Pakatan Rakyat -- obey the law and do their
job promptly?"

Anonymous said...

Many years ago there was a factory in Sungai Buloh which was set up by a registered company but broke every law in the book. Warnings, summonses, compounds were issued. Police investigations carried out. The factory was even asked to shut down or relocate. Unfortunately, in May 1991, there was a huge explosion and people died, many were injured, and homes were destroyed. This was the Bright Sparklers Fireworks Factory.

So people who flout the law and disobey the system must not be allowed to continue and risk other people's lives..more so if they are polluting the environment or are operating near homes. They should also take responsibility for their employees.

Elizabeth Wong's Response said...

This response by Ms Elizabeth Wong was sent to my google group - and to be fair, I am posting it here. Remember newspaper reports sometime do not convey the full picture - but alas many a time we will comment then & there to these reports.

Dear Aneel and friends,

These factories are the worst of the worst recalcitrant factories
which are not only illegal and without EIAs, but one of the two is
chucking out scheduled waste, the other is built illegally, some 20
feet away from houses.
They have been issued summonses, fines, compounds even taken to court
in the past few years. Still no compliance. Why - because they can
afford to keep paying fines and compounds.
So, I am invoking an existing law which forfeits the land from the
landowner for allowing such things to happen apart from sealing the
factories.

In time, we will be pushing for not just fine but jail time.

The message to these types of factories and all industries is that -
they must and will comply with environmental standards. The age of
paying bribes to officials and politicians to turn a blind eye is
over. I have forewarned the Associations related to multiple
industries way back in April to start cleaning up or I will 'go' for
them.

Their method of saving money by non-compliance is penny wise pound
foolish. The cost of cleaning up the environment goes into hundreds of
millions of taxpayers money, and often times, the cost is
immeasurable. One does not run an illegal business then cry foul when
the law comes down on them, then citing the welfare of their workers.
They should be responsible to the workers by having a legitimate
business.

For the record, I have also ordered the sealing of 2 polluting
factories and fined another at Serdang. The people live 50 feet from
the factories when the buffer should be 600 feet. They have cried out
for help for almost 9 years now and it's time the people's rights to a
clean environment be upheld.

My election promise to the voters was to protect and preserve the
environment, and I am blessed to have them place their trust in me. I
am fortunate to have both the mandate of the leader of my party Anwar
Ibrahim and the confidence of the Menteri Besar to do the right thing
and to act without favour and fear. I shall not let them and the
voters down.

I could have, with a stroke of a pen, close down thousands of
factories - illegal and polluting, but there are many of them are keen
to comply and we allow them a generous grace period and even assist
them to move to gazetted industry zones. In fact, the public clamour
has been for my office to act faster, but I believe we should be even
more cautious. Charles mentioned about power and corruption, but I
would say it is with this power that we must use it with even greater
and graver responsibility.

Allow me to go a few steps further - I will be forfeiting more land
from recalcitrant polluting factories, and also landowners who, year
after year, allow opening burning (eg. Johan Setia - for the past 9
years) and illegal dumpsites (if the owners refuse to seal and cordon
their areas).

I will close down every illegal fish/prawn farm polluting our rivers,
any factory sitting illegal on river reserves and water catchment
areas - this is non-negotiable.

Furthermore, I am taking back forest reserves which have been
degazetted and given away by BN to their Umno mates, to be not only
regazetted but I am going to TRIPLE gazette these reserves.

There are already rumbles in some circles that they are not happy we
have disallowed development on hill-slopes. There is a concerted
campaign in the past couple of months to overturn this decision but as
I have informed them - I am as immovable as the hills that still stand
today. I am proud to be a member of the KeADILan team which stands
firm against corruption, and who despite millions offered to the ADUNs
during the first week after GE, we did not budge. There is a reason
why hardly anyone dares to bribe or approach my office and my staff.
We're here to do our job, not to grant favours or enrich ourselves.

In fact, I am worried that I as well as the MB's team may not have
that much time to do what needs to be done - there are great forces
whose self-interests are being threatened. But our conscious is clear
and I plead for your continued support and assistance in our efforts
to clean up Selangor. If anyone wishes to volunteer to assist my
office, I will be very grateful.


Dear Charles,
I suggest you find out more before you go on a verbal rampage. But if
you insist we are worse than BN for our firm positions, then there's
little that I can do to change your mind.

best regards and cheers all,
elizabeth

Aneel David said...

Charles questioned: "...what about the workers? What about the family and the dependent's of these workers - who may now not even get their July wages - or be able to find work very soon. How manly workers will be affected? Did the state government consider this matter at all?"
Elizabeth answered: "One does not run an illegal business then cry foul when the law comes down on them, then citing the welfare of their workers. They should be responsible to the workers by having a legitimate business. "
While it is understandably extremely difficult to protect workers' rights AND the rights of residents living "50 feet from the factories when the buffer should be 600 feet. They have cried out for help for almost 9 years now (AND) the people's rights to a clean environment..." all at the same time, but there must be some means to help those retrenched from their work to find another job. One cannot simply [literally] dismiss them with the admonition, "well you should have thought about this before you chose to work for an illegal business concern..."

Any ideas anyone?

Aneel David Kannabhiran

http://deadalienx.wordpress.com

James Koh said...

Dear Eli,
I am glad to learn that you and your team cannot be bought. Corruption must end and you are ending it. Bravo!
In any action the authority takes, they usually have the legal right to do so (which you have). But legal right or the law must be exercised with compassion and not a sleighthammer. By this I mean (in your case), you need to exercise that legal right with compassion for the workers (they are the ones who suffer the collateral damage). You can give the factory owners and the land owners hell (and I support you on that), but we need to think of the welfare of the workers. To be deprived of one's wages is no joke, especially if that worker is the sole bread earner in the family (Are they to be left hanging on their own, without work, without money, without food?).
If you must close down the factories, by all means do so (I support you on that, for they cannot go on indefinitely breaking the law and the peace of the residents there). However, do so with a thought for the welfare of the workers---perhaps instead of closing them down immediately, give them notice of 2 or 3 months (and let them know you mean business, no bride, no plead, no nothing---they must close or move elsewhere to operate legally). I am sure the residents there don't mind the extra 2 or 3 months wait, after all they have been tolerating for years.
The purpose for the grace period is to give the workers some time to find alternative employment so that they won't suddenly be deprived of their wages. Also, the grace period will enable the factory owner to find an alternative legal premises to operate (if he chooses to do so), thereby saving the jobs of the workers. If the owner does that, then it would be a happy ending for all---for the owner, the workers, the residents, and for you.
By all means, kick them from where they are not supposed to be, but do so with not a heavy hand, but with love and compassion for all. I know many of them were given grace periods before, but it was by the BN. This time let them know the grace period is from PR govt and you mean business---they MUST move out. (The grace period is for the workers to find other jobs, not for the recalcitrant owners). Nevertheless, help the owners to move out if possible. Help them to find alternative location where they can operate legally, thus saving jobs. That way, PR govt will win the hearts of the people.
Though you have the legal right to act against law breakers, you need to exercise that legal right with compassion to get a win-win solution for all. Imagine if you are the sole breadwinner of the family and suddenly you are left with no work---how is your family going to survive? What are you going to live on, especially in this time of rising prices everywhere? Even with the small wages you earn, your family are already suffering. Without that small wage, they will suffer even more.
It is not easy running a business and surviving it to provide employment for others. Every job counts. It is also not entirely their fault that they are in the situation they are in. Often it is the failure of the BN govt to provide proper planning that lead to this situation. Also sharing part of the blame are the BN discriminating practices and corrupt ways that let to this situation.
Many a time, business start small and grow where they started, leading to complaints from neighbours and residents. Often they started small near their home on illegal land because they cannot afford otherwise. They did not know whether they would survive and prosper or would have to close down. Some survived and prosper, many didn't and have to close down (these we never heard from again). It is these thousands of illegally-built survivors that are the problem now. It took them years to slowly build their businesses and slowly add jobs to the locality. You can see them all over the place, from under the tree mechanics, road side restaurants, to run down factories, to backyard manufacturers, etc. All of them are illegal. However, they were merely trying to survive when they first started, not knowing the future. Also there were no industrial sites for them when they started.
An efficient govt should know and plan ahead for the industrial needs of the community by providing the land, the buildings, the transportation, the housing, the utilities, the roads, the security, etc so that the people can grow and prosper to the good of everyone. Failing to do this, will lead to haphazard development, with factories sprouting out of no where, in places that they shouldn't be. May I suggest that the PR govt put in place proper industrial, commercial, residential planning to solve this problem. While doing this, the planners must think of not just proper zoning, but also take into consideration the viability of the businesses that have to move (best to consult those affected). Many businesses cannot survive once they are moved too far away from they existing location (too far away means they can't get workers or get customers). Cost is another big factor for them---(high rental means they can't survive).
It is a good thing that you cannot be bought. It is a good thing, you need to stand firm. It is a good thing, you care for the residents who have suffered all these years. It is a good thing, you care for the environment. It is a good thing, you have the power to act. But exercise that power with care and compassion---even for the illegal factory owners. Try to work out a win-win solution for all.
God bless and good luck.
James Koh

Goh KP said...

Dear friends all,
Thank you for all your sharing on these very vital issues. Am grateful
that in today's climate, we are able to debate among friends. Both
sides of the argument have made very vital points. Elizabeth Wong has
accomplished much in a short space of time and at long last
environmental matters are being firmly dealt with. As others have
said, she must not be deterred from this vital work. Pushing the
argument further, the loss of jobs will be even more horrendous in
consequence if these blatant disregard for environmental concerns are
allowed to carry on. Unchecked corruption and irresponsible practices
not Elizabeth's fulfilment of her responsibilities are to blame for
job losses. The same people who break environment and other laws will
also be breaking labour laws with impunity. If we can't get them to
adhere to environment laws, can we count on them to meet good HR
standards?
Goh KP
PS. You are cordially invited to visit my personal blog at
http://ongohing.wordpress.com/. Thank you.