KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 ― The Ministry of Environment and Water (Kasa) has given its assurance that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the exploration of Rare Earth Elements (REE) in Kedah will be studied professionally and meticulously to ensure environmental sustainability.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said that until now the Department of Environment (DOE) had not received any application for approval of the project’s EIA report.
“The ministry is serious about the significant impact on the environment and recommends that these environmentally sensitive areas be fully protected and preserved to ensure the continuity of the ecosystem for safe water supply, food security, ecosystem protection, flora and fauna,” he said during the Minister’s Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat here today.
He said this in his reply to a question from Nurul Izzah Anwar (PH-Permatang Pauh) who wanted the ministry to state measures to protect Ulu Muda, a raw water source for the needs of 4.2 million people in Kedah, Perlis and Penang from the effects of toxic pollution if the Rare Earth Elements (REE) exploration continues in Kedah which covers an area of 163,000 hectares.
Therefore, he said, Kasa as the main agency in ensuring the sustainability of nature and water, would like to emphasis that protecting the environment for the long-term sustainability of ecosystem functions will be be given priority for the well-being of the people and sustainable development of the country.
Meanwhile, Tuan Ibrahim said the Ulu Muda area was a water catchment area for three states, namely Kedah, Perlis and Penang, and the Kedah government has sacrificed a lot by not exploring the area.
“For the record, I have just been given confirmation by the Kedah Menteri Besar who assured me that the water catchment area will not be explored and any logging area previously approved involving water catchment area will be replaced with other areas.
“On the huge sacrifice of the Kedah state government, it would be good if Penang, which has benefited tremendously, can contribute financially to Kedah which has sacrificed for water catchment areas to ensure that the states’ water resources are guaranteed,” he said. ― Bernama