BUKIT MERTAJAM: Are there “hidden hands” facilitating operations of several illegal factories in Seberang Prai, including the carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu which was raided by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday?
That was the question raised by Umno Permatang Pauh division chief Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said concerning Seberang Prai Municipal Council’s apparent inaction (MPSP) over the mushrooming of illegal factories despite countless complaints.
Zaidi said the carbon factory might not be the only illegal factory in Seberang Prai as that he had been informed by locals that there were up to eight found operating on mainland Penang.
He said it would be a matter utmost concern if there local authorities were indeed facilitating illegal operations.
“Is MPSP ‘closing one eye’ to the operations of the illegal factories? Is the local authority working together with the illegal factories? Are there any ‘hidden hands’ preventing the local council from taking actions?
“We hope MPSP will take appropriate action and furnish MACC with information on the illegal factories, or we will lodge a complaint against the local council for ‘protecting’ the illegal factories.
“We are giving the MPSP time to clean up its act before we expose them. We will bring you (newsmen) there (illegal factories) for an exposè soon,” he told journalists when met at the Sungai Lembu village here today, which is several hundred metres away from the illegal carbon factory.
Also present was Parti Cinta Malaysia deputy president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan. Zaidi and Huan later joined in a protest against the illegal carbon factory.
Zaidi said most of the illegal factories in Seberang Prai had built their premises on plots of land that had been earmarked for agriculture purposes.
He also claimed that the factory operators had applied with MPSP to erect agriculture sheds, but apparently found a loophole concerning the rules and regulations which allowed them to run illegal factories instead.
Zaidi commended the MACC for its raid at the illegal carbon factory and hoped that there would be more of similar raids against the similar setups soon.
Meanwhile, Huan said he would handover to MACC the information on the illegal factories he obtained from the locals.
Later, protesters held placards that among others read “Masyarakat Berterima Kasih Kepada SPRM (The people thank MACC)”, “Mana PBT Bantahan Kami Tak Dipeduli" (Where is the local council? Our complaints have fallen on deaf ears)” and “Sudah Lama Buat Kerja Haram (They have been operating illegally for a long time)”.
Yesterday, MACC had raided the carbon factory, its office as well as MPSP’s Licensing Department office.
MACC officers were seen entering the council’s building in Bandar Perda about 10.30am and left three hours later with bags of documents.
A 70-year-old supervisor of the factory was also detained for questioning.