Anti-graft group says ex-MP should pay for dumping expired rice, food aid at Temerloh dumpsite

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) today called on the government to hold former Kuala Krau MP Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said accountable for disposing of a large quantity of expired staple food.

In a statement today, C4 said as a former lawmaker, Ismail should have been aware of the impact of his actions that was committed at a dumpsite in Temerloh, Pahang

"Ismail and his team should have worked together with waste management agencies such as Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp), along with the Padi and Rice Supervision Section under the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry to dispose of the rice.

"Moreover, the Cabinet members should have taken more prompt and serious action on this matter,” it said.

It further said that disposal of food items in a potentially illegal landfill is irresponsible, especially for someone who held positions of authority like a former MP and minister.

C4 said mere admitting fault and expressing remorse, as Ismail did, is inadequate as these actions may lead to legal consequences under the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007, potentially resulting in fines ranging from RM10,000 to RM100,000 or imprisonment lasting from six months to five years, or both.

"Not only that, some of the items in the dumpsite seen in the circulated videos were burned, which is a crime under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 where an offender can be fined a maximum of RM500,000 or jail term of up to 5 years, or both.

"Both of these actions are egregious considering Malaysia is already dealing with existing illegal dumping and waste management issues,” it added.

The policy advocacy centre said that initial investigations by Pahang SWCorp found that the dumpsite in Temerloh is not authorised for garbage disposal.

It added that without the exposure of the incident, the nearby environment would be polluted and endangered the health and well-being of local communities.

"Had this incident not been exposed, the massive piles of food waste and their packaging would deteriorate and contaminate the surrounding environment, affecting waterways, land, and air, negatively affecting the health and livelihood of local communities,” it said.

C4 also urged the government to incorporate measurable, inclusive, and sustainable targets into the National Blueprint on Solid Waste Management and Circularity, ensure proper accountability and transparency in procurement involving controlled items, strengthen enforcement in waste management, and enhance monitoring systems while enhancing public participation through public complaints systems.

On April 19, Ismail admitted to discarding rice and other food items in Temerloh, explaining that they were originally intended for his constituents during his tenure as the Kuala Krau MP but had become unsuitable for consumption.

Ismail said that he purchased the food items using his own money.