Nizar admits giving support letter for Vale project in Teluk Rubiah


(Bernama) — Former menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin admitted signing a letter dated Dec 17, 2008 in support of Vale International’s iron ore distribution centre project and its content.

The truth came out after Tan Sri Tajol Rosli Ghazali (BN-Pengkalan Hulu) using Standing Order 23 (c) asked the Pasir Panjang assemblyman to state whether the content of the letter read by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir earlier was true or otherwise.

“I admit the letter is valid, truthful and I signed the said letter,” said Mohammad Nizar on the second day of the Perak state assembly sitting, here.

Earlier, when replying to a question by Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Sitiawan), Zambry said the issue of approval for the investment project by Vale International in Perak should be answered by Mohammad Nizar as he was the menteri besar then.

Ngeh was seeking clarification on why Barisan Nasional (BN) approved the iron ore project in Teluk Rubiah, Lumut when the state government under the leadership of the opposition coalition had proposed Tanjung Hantu, Bagan Datoh.

Zambry said the question posed by Ngeh surprised him because the issue of the Vale investment in Perak should be put to Mohammad Nizar who was responsible as menteri besar during the opposition’s administration.

“The issue is played up by Pakatan. Mohammad Nizar had profusely claimed that he never agreed to the project, he also alleged the project was proposed to be elsewhere…then the investment of Vale in Teluk Rubiah became an issue,” he said.

He clarified that Vale had carried out studies for investment in Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia and at the end of 2007, the company finally decided that the project would be in Perak due to the more conducive environment.

“They also did technical studies on sea depth, especially for shipping lanes. The Teluk Rubiah area was found to be suitable in terms of location and sea depth.

“After the negotiation process, Vale reached an agreement with Harta Makmur Sdn Bhd as the owner of the land in Teluk Rubiah and the then menteri besar issued a supporting letter for the project dated Dec 17, 2008.

“The letter stated that the Vale project would receive investment licence and incentive. The letter also acknowledged the positive development between Vale and Harta Makmur over the site. Apart from that, Perak would also process the land ownership transfer and land conversion from tourism to industry,” Zambry said.

He hoped the iron ore project by Vale would become a major growth catalyst for Perak and not be used by the opposition as a cheap political stunt as what happened when some of their assemblymen took part in a demonstration against the project in Teluk Rubiah recently.

Last Saturday, Mohammad Nizar, Ngeh and Tronoh assemblyman V. Sivakumar joined 100 members of the Jaringan Aktivis Alam Sekitar Perak in the protest, claiming that the project would destroy the environment there.