Last Thursday they agreed to give Worldwide Holdings Berhad's environment division Worldwide Landfills Sdn. Bhd. RM6.5 million of rate payers money to close an old landfill that the federal government had already spent RM2 million to close in 2004. And if this isn't crazy enough, on November 25th 2008, Mentri Besar, Khalid Ibrahim, gave a privately funded green tech company the go-ahead to rehabilitate the same landfill. Furthermore, a representative from that green tech company was instructed to attend Thursday's meeting, asked to sign the attendance register before the meeting started and was then barred from the meeting itself.
The landfill in question, Sg.Kembong, is the 85 acre site at Bukit Mahkota near Beranang, Selangor. Ever since the landfill was closed in 2004 there has been sporadic leachate contamination of the Bernanang and Semenyih rivers and this is currently being exacerbated by an illegal sand mining operation in the area which is eroding the river bank right back to the landfill.
CLEAR, the green tech company that M.B.Khalid appointed to clean up the site, have already contained the leachate away from the river and have started to mine the garbage to produce refuse derived fuel (RDF) which is used as a renewable energy source for steam turbines and cement kilns. Their Waste to Energy approach will leave the site clear of all garbage and contaminants so that it can be handed back to the state government for further development when their present 21-year lease runs out. The income CLEAR will get from the recoverable items plus RDF mined from the site allows them to offer this service free of charge to the Selangor government.
So why has the Selangor government now decided to give Worldwide Holdings Berhad RM6.5 million to close this site?
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Selangor State Finance officer, Mohd Arif Bin AB Rahman (left) is the chairman of Worldwide Holdings Berhad and the head of PKNS, Othman Bin Hj.Omar (right) is a director of that same company.
Or maybe it's because Exco members Hassan Mohd. Ali and Ronnie Liu who are respectively in charge of waste management and the local authorities, are not on the same page as the chief minister.
As for Worldwide Holdings Berhad, their track record isn't that great. The Selangor State Government gave them RM80 million to build a waste transfer station in Section 21 Shah Alam which was due to be completed in 2007 but is still not operating. Furthermore, Worldwide's method of closing landfills doesn't entail removing and re-using the waste in the way thatthe CLEAR approach does. Both the Taman Beringen and Bukit Hitam landfills, which have recently been closed by Worldwide, have just been covered with soil and landscaped with grass and shrubs. And they charge between RM2-5 million for this service whereas the CLEAR solution is free.
So what can we learn from this:
1. Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim is obviously concerned about his state and the people who live in
it. By approving the rehabilitation project with CLEAR he didn't spend a single sen and in
exchange Selangor state get a pristine piece of land.
2. Exco members Hassan Mohd. Ali, and Ronnie Liu are incredibily inefficient or are deliberately
disrespecting their MB's authority. Either way this needs to be addressed.
3. Mohd Arif Bin AB. Rahman (State Finance Office) and Othman Bin Haji Omar (head of PKNS)
are using their positions to award contracts to themselves.
Selangor has 20 landfills waiting to be closed. Surely the decision as to whether to pay around RM120 million of rate payer's money to a company like Worldwide to do this, or to go for the free option offered by companies like CLEAR is a no brainer, isn't it?