… from RM4 per metric tonne to RM8 per metric tonne, beginning January 1, 2016.
“But, they want to beat the time (so, do not want to spend time to do the spraying and cleaning). They want to get extra trips thus extra income. This lies the problem (when their uncleaned lorries dirtied the roads and polluted areas they passes through)” – the Menteri Besar
THE MENTERI BESAR DURING THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NST...
WISMA SRI PAHANG, KUANTAN – In a move to further check the many nuisances brought about by the bauxite mining activities in the state particularly in this district of Kuantan;
The State Government has decided to hike sharply, special charges imposed on operators of the mineral’s industry from RM4 per metric tonne to RM8 per metric tonne, effectively January 1, 2016.
This was revealed by the Menteri Besar, Dato’ Sri DiRaja Adnan Yaakob in an exclusive interview with Pahang’s New Straits Times (NST) Bureau Chief, Nik Imran Nik Abdullah on Thursday morning, November 19, here.
It is learnt that this latest action has multi-prong objectives that should be seen more as a punitive and remedial measures, rather than be wrongly and sarcastically implied as another source of a much needed extra income to the Government’s coffer.
Among the objectives are - # to make the operators to be more responsible and deligent hence be more environmental- and people-friendly in their activities; # to discourage thus making them to restrategise towards downsizing their businesses;
FACE-TO-FACE... Dato' Sri DiRaja Adnan is seen here, answering questions posed by Nik Imran (right) who was accompanied by his reporter, Cik Nor'ain.
THIS IS NOT (THE FIVE PERCENT) ROYALTY
and, # with the more monies collected can be used by the State Government to repair the many damages incurred resulting from the bauxite mining and it’s haphazardly means of transportation.
“This is not (the five percent) royalty. This is a special ‘cukailah’,” Dato’ Sri DiRaja Adnan insisted.
As has been reported before, the revenue collected from this industry via the five percent royalty was only RM37 million thus far. However, it was not known of the total collection from the RM4 metric tonne special charges presently imposed.
With the new rate of RM8 per metric tonne, and that the amount of bauxite’s monthly production stood at about three (3) million metric tonnes; the State Government is expected to rake about RM24 million a month or about RM288 million a year.
Even the RM37 million that the State Government obtained from the royalty according to the Menteri Besar, was questionable and that he suspected, it may due to some loopholes in the system.
SHOT FROM ANOTHER ANGLE...
PLUGGING LOOPHOLES IN THE SYSTEM
“Look at the whole production; it (was so huge that the earnings collected by the operators has) runs to billions (of ringgit). But why is the State Government getting merely RM37 million? Because of the loopholes…,” he said.
Thus, he added, he will be calling for a meeting with the agencies concerned – the State’s Land and Mines Office, Customs Department of Pahang, and, Kuantan Port Consortium among others, to further discuss about the bauxite industry.
And among matters to be elaborated including finding ways to plug the said loopeholes and get the actual figures especially on the real value of the minerals that were exported to China all this while.
“So, I am calling all the head of departments (concerned) to make sure that the figures are in-sync (and a more concerted efforts are taken to tackle this bauxite menace),” he stressed.
In response to a question, Dato’ Sri DiRaja Adnan maintained that the main culprits of this negative episode regarding bauxite, are the transport operators and drivers of lorries carrying this reddish minerals.
NO DAUNTING TASK TO CLEAN THE LORRIES
It was in fact not a daunting task for these drivers in particular he added, to ensure their lorries are sprayed and cleaned, before embarking their journey transporting the minerals from their production site to the Kuantan Port.
“But, they want to beat the time (so, do not want to spend time to do the spraying and cleaning). They want to get extra trips thus extra income. This lies the problem (when their uncleaned lorries dirtied the roads and polluted areas they passes through),” he said..
“Then, people asked - where are the Police, SPAD, JPJ? To be fair to them, they don’t have sufficient manpower to handle this… But I think, through some other methods for example the JPJ not renewing the road tax of transport or lorries not paying their summonses, I think that would be more effective,” he added.
On his part, the Menteri Besar said, he has done whatever that needed to be done including meeting with the operators or producers of the minerals and their lorry operators, not less than four times during which, they were reminded of the rules and regulations that needed to be adhered.
The most recent action he added, was the engagement of a Tunisian-born scientist educated in Canada – Prof Mongi Ferchichi, to help the State Government in tackling the dust problem emitted by the bauxite.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL BAN BAUXITE EXPORTS IF…
“… this group will help in controlling of the dust, in making sure that the lorries are quite clean and to make sure that water -- as a result of the bauxite mining activities,will have to be treated before being allowed to flow into the river,” he said.
“With these actions taken and solutions proposed, can we say that the State Government does not have any intention to stop this bauxite mining?” asked Nik Imran.
“At this juncture, I can’t stop, I can’t stop. Because, many people are depending on this mining activities. I know of a lorry driver who is now earning about RM7,000 to RM8,000 (per month);
“And they use the money to feed their children, to educate their children. There are hundreds of them. I cannot simply stop it just like that,” Dato’ Sri DiRaja Adnan answered.
“But if the operators continue to flout the law, continue to disobey the law (hence, continue) causing difficulty to the people at large; I don’t rule out (the possibility that) the Federal Government (will arrive to a decision in) banning the export of bauxite,” he warned.
STILL WITHIN THE PERMISSABLE LIMIT
Dato’ Sri DiRaja Adnan also confirmed that, reports that he has received from the Health and Environment Department disclosed that all the levels of the said to be hazardous substance in the minerals collected from the various places, were within the permissible limits.
“There is no harm. Even at the time when the (NST) report (regarding the many down sides of the whole bauxite industry) were published (in August); all the levels are within permissible limits.
“And Prof Mongi – after having studied the (NST’s news)report, he told me that he didn’t agree with them (the news report)… But I don’t want to split hair on this,” he said. – Khabar