ALOR SETAR, Dec 6 — The Department of Environment (DOE) has suspended the operations of three factory premises in Bukit Selambau, near Sungai Petani, which caught fire last Sunday.

Kedah DOE director Sharifah Zakiah Syed Sahab said they also sealed the equipment at these premises involved in the collection and processing of scheduled discarded materials, which was found operating without a DOE licence.

“So far Kedah DOE has recorded a statement from the landowner and owner of one of the premises, who is a Malaysian.

“The owners of the other two premises are foreigners and their statements are in the process of being recorded,” she said in a statement today.

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She said the Fire and Rescue Department allowed DOE officers to enter the affected area to conduct investigations this afternoon after fully putting out the fire.

Three warehouses containing scrap copper and wires at the factory were destroyed in the fire.

The fire caused explosions and sparks but the Fire and Rescue Department brought the blaze under control at 10.02pm. No casualties were reported.

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Sharifah Zakiah said DOE found it a challenge to inspect a large number of industrial premises and developments in the state due to manpower constraints.

“The failure of developers to refer their activities to DOE also posed a challenge to DOE to detect and take action,” she said.

However, she said DOE would continue to take firm action against any parties caught breaching regulations. — Bernama