Datuk Shahziman Mansor, the Minister of Energy, Water and Communication is reported in the New Straits Times published on 26 September 2008 to have said that the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Government is holding the Federal Government to ransom over the construction of the Central Area Reinforcement Project crossing over Kampung Sungai Terentang New Village in Rawang. It appears that the Minister has not been fully briefed of all the facts.
The Minister is wrong in stating that the PR Selangor Government has not offered any solution. Unlike the previous BN administration, it has taken into consideration the adverse impact on the health of the people in proposing 2 alternatives to TNB, which is to use an alternative route or to proceed with underground cables. The residents in Kampung Sungai Terentang Rawang and the surrounding area welcome and accept the proposal.
The Minister is also wrong in stating that there is a High Court decision handing the land back to TNB. The decision of the High Court is to dismiss an application for judicial review of TNB’s decision to construct the transmission line over the new village. The decision is pending appeal before the Court of Appeal. There is no Court order requiring the villagers to hand back the land as reported.
The Minister is also not correct in stating that TNB’s original plan of constructing the transmission line over the New Village would only take 3 months to complete with completion costs amounting to RM12.2 million. The costs of construction of TNB’s original plan is in the region of RM300 million over 60 kilometres. The Sungai Terentang New Village and the residents along the proposed route including those in Taman Templer had objected to the proposed route since it was first announced in 2005. The residents had requested TNB to use an alternative route which would not pass through densely populated areas. If TNB had taken into consideration the objections of the residents and the interests of the people, TNB would have completed the Project by now.
The former Minister of Energy, Water and Communication, Dato’ Seri Lim Keng Yaik announced on 27 August 2007 that the Ministry and TNB had agreed to relocate the transmission line if the State Government provides the land for the alternative route. Tan Sri Dato’ Khalid Ibrahim, the Menteri Besar of Selangor has since agreed to provide the land. TNB and the Ministry should therefore proceed in accordance with Dato’ Seri Lim Keng Yaik’s announcement.
It is suggested that Datuk Shahziman Mansor should ask TNB to review its insistence on proceeding with the original route because a caring government should not put profits before people. TNB professes to be a green company and is said to take pride in its corporate social responsibility such as the construction of the coal powered Stesen Janakuasa Sultan Azlan Shah to ensure that the plant does not emit harmful discharge to the environment. Its Kapar Energy Ventures grounds have been converted into one of the main stops for migratory birds. TNB is also a major contributor to the preservation of the firefly colony in Kuala Selangor. TNB has spent RM1.4 billion for the financial year 2007 in such efforts.
There is concern that constant exposure to electromagnetic fields such as high voltage transmission lines will cause cancer and post other health risks. A study conducted by UiTM Medical Faculty Associate Professor Dr Adlina Suleiman reported in Harian Metro, April 29, 2008 that 8% of residents interviewed in Taman Subang in Kelana Jaya were found to be suffering from cancer compared to under 1% for Malaysians in general. Most of the cases appeared after the telecommunication tower was built. According to a study by the European Union, exposure to extremely low frequency and radio frequency, electromagnetic fields could damage chromosomes, alter gene activity and accelerate cell proliferation.
TNB having spent RM1.4 billion for the protection of migratory birds and fire flies should give proper consideration to the protection of human life and well being. I call upon TNB and the Ministry to review their position because no amount of money can compensate for the loss of life, human misery and suffering.
30 September 2008
William Leong Jee Keen
Member of Parliament for Selayang
Treasurer GeneralParti Keadilan Rakyat