Mile 7 residents concerned about quarrying in their backyard

Chong showing the proximity of the quarry from the nearest housing estate, Taman Mei Lee, as Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii (right) and Chong's special assistant Julian Tan look on.

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By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, June 10: Residents of Taman Mei Lee are worried about soil integrity and the foundation of their houses due to blasting activities at the nearby CMS Quarry Sdn Bhd, in Mile 7.

Hence, Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen hoped the Sarawak government would look into the issue seriously as it is regulated by the Land and Survey Department.

Chong told a press conference here today that although Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii had raised the worries of the affected folk in Parliament, this is not under the federal jurisdiction.

Dr Yii did receive a reply from the federal Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources, where it stated that the quarry ought to conduct a detailed study on the soil, particularly those around the affected residential areas, to ensure that safety regulations are met.

Satellite view of the quarry and Taman Mei Lee.

“The reply also said there is a concern raised on whether the operation is too near to the housing estate as the quarry operation is expanding and deepening by the day, whether such continuous blasting of rocks in the quarry would compromise soil integrity in the area, causing a massive landslide.

“But due to the fact that this is under the autonomy of the state, the federal ministry can, at most, only write a letter to the Land and Survey Department and the state Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources to request for a thorough and detailed soil study to be carried out and (assess) the potential threat of continuous quarry operations on the integrity of soil in the surrounding areas,” Chong explained.

He recalled that previously there were also complaints and concerns about the quarry, which is sited about 250m away from Taman Mei Lee, which hosts some 60 houses, but the argument then was that the quarry had existed since the 1950s, while the housing area only came about in the early 1980s.

“We have seen a lot of poultry farms that existed near the city area before. When the city expanded, these farms were asked to relocate. If that was possible, then it should also be possible for the quarry to either be relocated or to be issued a stop work order to its operation, if indeed it is affecting the nearby residential area,” said Chong. — DayakDaily