International dumpsite could not have occurred without corruption — Transparency International Malaysia

MAY 30 — Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) is appalled by the extent of foreign waste dumping which has been discreetly polluting our homeland! 

TI-M fully supports the swift and stern actions of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology Environment and Climate Change (MESTEC) in cracking down on these illegal dumping sites and welcomes the government’s stance on sending back over 3000 tonnes of waste to their countries of origin. 

However, it is clear that 3,000 tonnes of waste do not slip in through our borders overnight. Such monstrous amount of waste had to be sanctioned to pass through customs and as MESTEC Minister Yeo Bee Yin has said the plastic waste were falsely labelled. Could this happen without the knowledge of the relevant authorities having charge of guarding our borders?  This waste then had to be transported to a location (land) which was registered (under the respective local councils) as waste disposal/storage facilities, or as something else — which would have been verified and approved by local council officers.

Staff working at these facilities have largely been found to be migrant workers; who would have been employed (and registered with immigration) as waste disposal staff; or as something else, with proof their employers were certified to carry out such business activities.

Lastly, if complaints were lodged with local councils and law enforcement authorities, transparent and swift investigations should have been initiated against these waste disposal sites; as quickly and swiftly as it has been in the past few weeks! What has become clear recently are reports of influential individuals with titles hindering action and protecting these illegal operations. 

TI-M notes that lack of political will, lack of support and other challenges may hinder law enforcement authorities from carrying out their job; however in this example it is clear the rot spans across the entire supply chain from the leaders to the ground staff. This is further aided by the opaque and secretive nature of all these organizations which are trusted as gatekeepers to prevent turning Malaysia from the world’s tropical garden into the world’s dumpster. 

Residential associations, NGOs and whistle blowers need a direct, safe and effective means to lodge complaints with a dedicated authority which cannot be disregarded or deferred without providing feedback to the complainant.

Information kills corruption — we need transparent systems put in place to increase law enforcement independence and to expose the secret hands of the corrupt!

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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