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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — The federal government today agreed to a suggestion to temporarily suspend the export of bauxite from Pahang until proper regulations are in place to keep the industry in check.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he is agreeable to the suggestion made by PKR’s Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, though he stressed that this would require the buy in from Pahang state government.
“We will meet with the state government to discuss the matter,” he said when winding up points raised during the Budget 2016 debate.
Earlier when interjecting, Fuziah stressed that Pahang’s capital city of Kuantan is suffering from heavy pollution caused by illegal mining operations that have mushroomed to meet high demand for the mineral.
She claimed that mining activities have also left a large amount of dust that has allegedly led to a spike in the number of asthma attacks and skin disease among children in the area.
Bauxite is an aluminium ore and considered the world’s main source of the metal.
Earlier this month when raising a petition seeking Parliament’s intervention on the issue, Fuziah said an estimated 44 companies are exporting some 15 million tonnes of bauxite out of Pahang to China each month.
She claimed then that there are numerous loopholes that companies can exploit to cash in on the growing industry at the expense of Kuantan’s air and water quality and its surrounding environment.