Phee insisted the solar panel plant is safe.
KUALA LUMPUR: Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh said the solar panel manufacturing plant project in Batu Kawan will proceed and insisted it is safe.
The state Environment, Health and Caring Society WelfareThe Mole that several bodies including the International Energy Agency and Department of Environment had vetted the project before the Penang Government gave its go-ahead.
“The government will definitely stop the project if it poses dangerous risks to the people and environment,” he said.
The Sungai Puyu state assemblyman was commenting on a blog post which stated that the solar panel manufacturing plant, which Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH plans to build in Batu Kawan, will be similar to a plant in China which was forced to close down due to health risks it posed to the local population.
When that issue was pointed out to him, Phee said he would check with the relevant authority to ensure the project’s safety, saying the allegation was new to him.
Refuting allegations that the plant will impose similar health and environmental risks to the Lynas rare earth refinery plant, Phee said, “In the first place, the plant in Batu Kawan is never in the same category with Lynas.”
“I need to see the basis of allegations by people who make such statements. Give me the proof and what authority do they have to make such accusation?” he said.
The blog post also stated the manufacturing process would include the use, production and disposal of various toxic chemicals and materials such as lead, brominated flame retardants, cadmium, sulphur hexafluoride, and arsenic compounds, all of which pose health risks.
The Penang exco also questioned why people did not complain when the Barisan Nasional government approved the construction of a solar manufacturing plant in Kulim, Kedah.
“Why didn’t anyone question the risks that might come under such projects too?”
“There are people who like to create an issue out of nothing. I hope people would not be misled and keep their focus. If it’s about environment issues then don’t make it political,” Phee said.
Meanwhile, Gerakan youth chief Tan Keng Liang in a blog post on Monday demanded Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng to explain the environmental effects of the solar panel plant and the State Government’s measures to ensure pollution did not occur.