MACC must probe bauxite issue in Kuantan, says C4

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was urged today to begin a stringent investigation into the bauxite mining scandal in Kuantan, which has caused damage to plantation land and pollution of water supplies. The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism activist group also urged MACC to carry out a separate investigation into allegations of RM180 million of untaxed profits arising from bauxite mining in the state.

It said state authorities in Pahang “seem to have turned a blind eye on this monstrous issue” and the state government “is presumed to have lost the plot”. In a statement by its directors Cynthia Gabriel and Richard Yeoh, the group said the menteri besar “seems encased in deniability”, coming up with contradictory statements that simultaneously deny water pollution, yet discourage the people from consuming the said water source. C4 issued the statement after making a visit to Kuantan on Jan 26. It said there were mounting questions about land permits and who provided the miners access and permission to exploit the lands.

It seemed to be “an open secret, where people know the answer, but none dare question it”, the group said, while pointing out that on the federal level, the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, had not made any statement on the matter. Pahang is Najib’s home state, and he is MP for Pekan, as was his father before him. The group also called for a breakdown of clean-up costs around Kuantan and how much in public funds were used for repairing and cleaning the streets because of damage from bauxite transport trucks, rehabilitation of bauxite mines and the cleansing of polluted waters.

C4 called for answers before a three-month moratorium on bauxite mining was lifted.