Environmentalist group Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has backed protests by residents in Jenjarom, Selangor against the resumption of operations at a battery manufacturing plant shut down by the state government in 2019, citing past experiences of pollution detrimental to public health.
It said according to the district council, the previous occupant of the plant, Leoch Accupower (M) Sdn Bhd, had had its operating licence revoked and was ordered to relocate to a heavy industrial area.
Citing a letter dated Dec 19, 2019, it said the revokation of the licence and relocation order were in line with a decision by the Selangor state executive council on Oct 16.
“The decision taken at this meeting proves that heavy industry and battery-based industry are not suitable to be carried out in the vicinity of Kampung Jenjarom or any site with small and medium industry status.
“Although the new applicant, Federal Power Holdings Sdn Bhd, has assured in a media statement that it will not manufacture products that endanger health including causing pollution that could threaten the local community in Jenjarom, this is not a guarantee and justification to allow the company to resume operations at the site.”
In a statement signed by its president Meenakshi Raman, SAM urged the state government and other related authorities to thoroughly vet the new application, voicing concern that the activities conducted could be similar to those previously carried out by Leoch Accupower.
“Furthermore, factories manufacturing batteries and dry cells are included in the heavy industry category, thus it is not appropriate for the state government or local authority to permit Federal Power Holdings Sdn Bhd to take over and conduct the same operations in the factory at the site,” it said.
SAM also asked if Federal Power Holdings was backed by Leoch Accupower, a question it said had been raised by the community itself.
“The state government, local authority and government agencies should not compromise on matters involving environmental pollution that threaten the health and well-being of the people.
“Do not allow heavy industry in areas zoned for small and medium industries, close to residential areas and public facilities such as schools.”