PKR claims S’gor rejected petrochemical plant

Chua Jui Meng clams that the same Taiwanese petrochemical firms approached the Selangor government last year before to build the plant in Pulau Indah.

Laven Woon, FMT

The Selangor government had once rejected proposals by Taiwanese investors to set up a petrochemical plant in the state before the latter turned to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to build the plant in Pengerang, Johor.

At a press conference here today, PKR Johor chairman Chua Jui Meng claimed that Taiwan state-owned oil refiner China Petroleum Corporation and Chemical Corp (CPC) and its subsidiary Kuokuang Petrochemical Co (Kuokuang) had approached the Selangor government through its representative company Everwish Sdn Bhd last year.

He said the multi-billion investors had proposed to build the petrochemical complex in Pulau Indah, an island off the west coast of Selangor, with total investments worth billions of ringgit.

“But after a detailed study done on the project, all agencies in Selangor opted against the project, and the Selangor menteri besar rejected their proposal in February 2011,” he said.

Despite the absence of documentary evidence, Chua claimed that Selangor’s rejection was due to severe ecological and environmental impact the project would pose to the area.

He said the menteri besar’s decision was consistent with the one of Taiwan president Ma Ying-Jeou, who had turned down CPC and Kuokuang’s proposal due to public protests in that country.

He said the two companies then turned to Petronas and Johor Menter Besar Abdul Ghani Othman for the project to be sited in Pengerang, which the latter welcomed with open arms.

“On May 13, 2011, within such a short span, their proposal was accepted by Najib and Ghani without considering the Environmental Impact Assessment reports done in Taiwan and Selangor.

“And Najib shows how grateful he is by giving a 10-year tax holiday to the companies,” he said.

Chua also criticised Najib and Ghani for “grabbing what Taiwan and Selangor rejected” and added that “Johor was chosen as a dumping ground”.

However, a check by FMT found that Najib only announced on May 13 this year that an undisclosed Taiwan-based petrochemicals firm has agreed to invest RM35 billion to build a new integrated complex in Pengerang.

Meanwhile, Selangor exco for investment, industry and trade Teresa Kok confirmed that the Taiwanese companies did approach the state government.

However, she said it was the two companies which did not pursue the proposals.

“We did have some concerns internally on the environmental impacts it might pose, because our Selangor Halal Food Hub is situated there. But it was more like the two companies who did not follow up,” she added.