Kg Kionsom folks firmly against revival of quarry
Published on: Daily Express Saturday, November 10, 2012
INANAM: Residents of Kg Kionsom here are firmly against a company now seeking approval from the Government to re-develop a quarry in Kiaukad Ulu Kionsom that was ordered to cease operations eight years ago.
The villagers feared that damages, pollution and social problems caused by the previous company would recur if the new company, Goltra Sdn Bhd (GSB), were given a licence to operate the quarry.
The quarry operations eight years ago caused not only landslides but also destroyed rubber and fruits trees in the village.
The mud flood that swept a bridge near the Ulu Kionsom Rural Clinic also caused severe pollution to Sungai Inanam.
Sungai Inanam passes through Kg Kionsom, Dambai, Pomotodon, Sinulihan, Kapa, Inanam Town, Inanam Laut and Kg Likas to the open sea in Likas near Menara Tun Mustapha.
The residents registered their protest in a dialogue between representatives of the company at Mini-Dewan Kionsom that saw senior officials from the State Environmental Protection Department, Federal Mineral and Geoscience Department, Drainage and Irrigation Department, Land and Survey Department, City Hall and police attending.
The meeting was held following a directive by Inanam Assemblyman Datuk Johnny Goh after the company requested to meet with the villagers with an aim to seek their full support so as to enable them to revive the stone quarry.
Goh was represented by Inanam's People Development Leader, Kalasa Alaska Sahat, who chaired the meeting.
Community Development Officer Sabin Guntaliban was also present.
Villager Jack Ginuhang, when objecting to the re-opening of the quarry, feared a similar disaster would recur if the company were given the approval.
He said this is because the site is very near to a health clinic, a government pre-school and the popular Kionsom Waterfall.
"The waterfall is very popular because it is located within the city.
It is a tourism attraction to both domestic and foreign tourists alike," he said.
Another villager, David Modutin, expressed his fear that if the quarry were revived, it would cause pollution not only to the air and water but also deter tourists to patronise his Mari Mari Kampung Warisan business.
Mari Mari is a popular foreign tourist attraction in Inanam.
"There is also the Nuluhan Villa Retreat and Resort nearby and because of that, blasting at the quarry will be a security problem," he said.
Another resident, Vitalis Gulabok, wanted the authorities concerned to conduct tests to ascertain whether quarrying activities would affect the quality of water in the area.
He said people in Kg Kiaukad depend on water from the area for their daily consumption, adding that the area is also a water catchment site.
Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) Chairman, Pan Su Khiong, said the previous quarrying company had to cease operation after he and the villagers protested against it.
"We never experienced mud floods before until after the quarry was in operation.
"Now we want the authorities not to approve the company's application to operate the quarry," he said.
Village chief, Hendry Yaang, said his feeling is similar to that of the people.
"If they objected to the reopening of the quarry, I will also object," he said.
On the other hand, Vitalis Maduyang of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said there is no application for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to redevelop the quarry.
Nevertheless, he said, the views and inputs from the villagers would be taken into consideration when his department scrutinises any application for an EIA from the company.
He pointed out that the dialogue was one of the ways for the department to get views from the people.
When asked about the EIA by the previous quarrying company, Maduyang said he was informed that the Federal Department of Environment approved it.
City Hall officer, Lalitah Jeneh, said it is not aware of the location of the land on which the company wanted to operate the quarry.
She said City Hall would only know after receiving a copy of the EIA report.
Meanwhile, GSB Manager, Simon Wong, told the meeting that his company was seeking co-operation from the villagers so as to enable the company obtain the licence to operate the quarry.
He assured that if the licence is approved, all requirements of the EIA would be adhered to.
He also promised that locals from the village and nearby localities would be given priority when the company hires workers.
Pan, nevertheless, said he would lead the villagers to object to the re-opening of the quarry.
He hoped to get assistance from environmental NGOs such as the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa).