Penang admin declassifies 2015 meeting minutes regarding illegal factory

Phee was arrested on August 11 to assist in MACC’s investigations into the illegal carbon filter factory

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state executive council decided today to release the full minutes of a 2015 meeting over a Sungai Lembu illegal factory controversy that has involved one of its members, Phee Boon Poh.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the purpose of declassifying the minutes is to prove that Phee had dealt with the issue in his capacity as the environment exco.

“If we want to talk about environment, he has dealt with it, and the minutes revealed that the DoE officer said the factory is in compliance,” Lim told a news conference here.

He said there were several other meetings held after that, but the state executive council will only reveal the minutes of this particular one as Phee was being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over a letter he wrote in 2015.

“They are investigating him for a letter he signed in 2015, so we are revealing the meeting minutes in 2015 to show that he did deal with the issue appropriately,” Lim added.

Phee, who is the state welfare, caring society and environment committee chairman, read out excerpts of the minutes of a meeting held on May 6, 2015 at the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) regarding the illegal factory.

The meeting in 2015 was attended by the then MPSP secretary Razali Mohamud, Phee, Penanti assemblyman Norlela Ariffin, officers from MPSP and also representatives from Department of Environment (DoE).

“In the meeting, the DoE representative clearly stated that they visited the factory and found no pollution as it has a roof to prevent smoke from escaping,” Phee said, reading aloud the minutes at the news conference in Komtar here.

He read out another point in the minutes where the DoE stated that it can support the factory operations if the burning is done in an enclosed building with proper safety measures in place.

DoE also states that the factory operator must obtain licenses from MPSP and the DoE will look into other conditions regarding the suitability of the site for the factory.

In the minutes, Phee was recorded as saying the factory operator was licensed to operate in Alma, but was later ordered to relocate and the licence was subsequently cancelled.

He also said the factory is more than 500m away from residential area.

Phee was also recorded saying there needs to be a detailed investigation into the factory’s process to ascertain if it is polluting the environment and whether it had caused health problems among the residents there.

He suggested that the factory be legalised to ensure that it adheres to environmental-friendly processes.

Phee was arrested on August 11 to assist in MACC’s investigations into the illegal carbon filter factory and held till August 14 when his lawyers won a court order against his remand.

He is being investigated based on two letter he issued to temporarily stop enforcement action against the factory.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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