Friday, October 30, 2009

Court Grants Orang Asli Leave To Review Environment Department's Decision

October 30, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 (Bernama) -- Twenty-seven Orang Asli were granted leave by the High Court here on Friday to seek a judicial review of the Department of Environment (DOE) director-general's decision to approve the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the Kelau Dam project in Raub, Pahang.

Justice Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin made the order in chambers after dismissing a preliminary objection by senior federal counsel Azizah Nawawi, of the DOE, who contended that the application was filed out of time.

Pendor Anger and 26 others, from the Senoi and Temuan indigenous tribe, filed the application at the High Court registry on Oct 9, 2007, naming the director-general of DOE and the Pahang and Malaysian governments as respondents.

They claimed that the land involved in the project was passed down to them by their ancestors and that it was where they find livelihood for their families.

They also claimed that the EIA report did not meet the DOE's Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines dan Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines for Dams.

The applicants said the EIA report was doubtful as it failed to cover detailed and reasonable studies on the impact on wildlife as well as give data and enviromental assessment on the affected area.

They also said that they knew nothing about the EIA report which was approved by the government on April 24, 2001 until their counsel told them.

They want a declaration that the government, by approving the dam project, has breached its fiduciary duty to protect the Orang Asli, and costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

The applicants were represented by counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin.


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