Bauxite Mines: ‘Sustainable Development’ Must Not Compromise Present & Future Safety

PRESS STATEMENT

DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HEALTH MALAYSIA 

RESPONSE TO CONTAMINATED FISH SAMPLES

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Photo from NST

On behalf of the Deputy Minister of Health, the Ministry of Health (MOH) would like to refer to the New Straits Times article titled ‘Shutting down mines best option’ dated 7 August 2015; and point out that the quote attributed to him on the contaminated fish samples is inaccurate. MOH has taken 20 food samples which includes fruits, onions, potatoes and ready to eat food sold in the area of Bukit Goh. No fish samples were taken and the results of the food samples listed above is not yet ready. It is quite possible that food and other environmental samples were also taken by other ministries or agencies but as of today we have yet to receive any information on it.

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Graphic from NST

We are well aware and concerned about the issues raised by the community affected by the bauxite mining and consequently have conducted a survey one month ago through the State Health Department of Pahang before the issues were raised by the local newspapers.  The participants of the survey were from communities in Felda Bukit Goh and Taman Kotasas.  Whereas, the community in Panching Timur was included as the control group.  We are now in the process of validating and verifying the survey findings.

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Graphic from NST

We understand the need for economic development especially in the rural areas but the development must be based on the principle of “sustainable development” which caters to the needs of the present without compromising on the needs of the future be it social, economic or environmental. Similar to other industries, the mining activities should adhere to all conditions set for permit approval to safeguard the community of the present and the future. This appropriate and effective mitigation measures must be in place before the mining activities commence. In this respect, enforcement must be carried out by the relevant authorities to ensure compliance. Failure of compliance must be dealt with sternly including suspension of activities.

Thank you

DATUK DR. NOOR HISHAM BIN ABDULLAH

Director General of Health Malaysia

8th August 2015

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