Kinta Valley Watch have raised these points:
1. It was said that Gunung Lanno has been authorised for quarrying.
(1) Does the authorised quarry zone include limestone caves? If it isn’t, how would quarry companies bear the damages to the caves and environment?
(2) Recorded quarry sites in the legislation are amenable. Quarrying activities are to be ceased and moved away from the area if valuable discoveries such as fossils, unique biodiversity or rare species are found in the quarry sites.
2. It is said that exploration activities in Gunung Lanno is unsafe. In fact, outdoor activities are reasonable and relatively safe through sufficient preparation, safety measures and suitable equipment. On the contrary, quarry blasting threatened lives and the surroundings as stated in the news reports over the years.
“Rockfall in quarry kills man operating excavator”
“Flying rocks from quarry blasting”
“Factory workers hit by flying stones from quarry blasts”
“One killed in quarry site explosion”
“‘Slimy and oily water’ flowing into pipes”
3. There have been many detailed and thorough research conducted by local and foreign research centres on Gunung Lanno all proven that the caves hold rich and unique records on history, culture, religion, paleontology, weather and the list goes on. These hold the identity and characteristics of Kinta’s nature which make good ecotourism potential. Below are some of the research works on Gunung Lanno:
(1) Speleological Expedition – Gunung Lanno
(2) Gunung Lanno
(3) Proceedings: engineering geology planning for sustainable development
(4) Sacred Darkness: A Global Perspective on the Ritual use of Caves
4. Among 36 caves of Gunung Lanno, out of 20 longest natural caves in Peninsular Malaysia, 7 of them are in Gunung Lanno; 100,000-year-old fossil has been discovered in Gua Naga Mas in Gunung Lanno; Writings on the walls are believed to be from Orang Asli and Communist Party of Malaya; There is a 100-year-old tin mining history in Gua Gatsch, Gunung Lanno; Gua Puncak has the second largest chamber in Peninsula Malaysia; Gua Air and few other caves are underground water caves, which all are uncommon in Malaysia.
5. With all the reports and evidence supporting the irrecoverable value of Gunung Lanno, we request an answer for the authorisation of Gunung Lanno as a quarry zone.
6. Tonnes of research conducted on Gunung Lanno were completed about 20 years ago, did the decision to make Gunung Lanno the quarrying zone accomplished according to any of the research?
7. Has any thorough survey conducted on the caves of Gunung Lanno before the issuance of quarry permit? Has there been any research work done by the authority to prove that Gunung Lanno is ideal for quarrying?
8. Gua Gatsch, the only cave in Malaysia with hundred years old worth of tin mining history which its eastern entrance has already been blasted off in the process of quarrying. Why would the authority allow quarrying and why would the company proceed with quarrying knowing that the said cave holds an important position in the history of Malaysia?
9. According to the National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645) (https://tinyurl.com/y5t29a77)
No. 47 Discovery of Object, (1):
“Any person who discovers any object which he has reason to believe has cultural heritage significance shall immediately notify the Commissioner, any authorized officer or the District Officer of the district where the object was discovered, and where practicable, deliver the object to the Commissioner, authorized officer or the District Officer who shall give a written acknowledgement thereof . . .”
No. 48 Proprietary right in the object, (1):
Any object discovered after the date of the coming into operation of this Act shall be the absolute property of the Federal Government provided that where the object is discovered on an alienated land, compensation may be paid to the owner of the land.
10. It is now known that Gua Gatsch of Gunung Lanno claimed the national heritage status with its 100-year-old tin mining history, what would be the next step? Will quarrying still be proceeding?
11. Last but not least, we would like to clarify that we hold no objection towards limestone quarrying, only if the following is fulfilled:
(1) Limestone hills are dedicated to public use whereas rock blasting is to serve the private interest. Public interest should be the priority where the quarry industry and quarry association meet to work towards preserving caves with irrecoverable values by referring to the research reports.
For example, Lafarge has been conducting conservation works on Gunung Kanthan to preserve cave biodiversity. This is a great example where a balance is achieved between industrial development and biodiversity conservation. (https://tinyurl.com/y3ayqcf2)
(2) The company should exercise its corporate social responsibility by listening to the community where a safe and healthy environment is to be taken into account in the process of profit maximization. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_social_responsibility)
(3) Limestone hills are non-renewable plus Kinta Valley is the only zone with the largest limestone karst area in Peninsula. To make limestone extraction possible without the need for rock blasting, the industry shall turn to subsurface limestone quarrying, which has been proven to be achievable by quarry companies in Tasek, Kampar and Batang Padang.
(4) Thorough surveys are to be conducted in the caves before authorisation for quarrying. The survey reports are to be shared with the community followed by identification for quarrying activities.
(5) We are asking that Perak government to cease all the quarrying activities in Gunung Lanno, to inspect quarry license of the projects in the Lanno zone, to conduct a thorough survey on Gunung Lanno and to gazette Gunung Lanno under Lembah Kinta Geopark for eco-tourism. This is the voice of the community and we expect our voice will be heard.Two of the reports which highlighted the significance of Gunung Lanno: “Gazette hills to protect them for perpetuity” https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2019/07/25/gazette-hills-to-protect-them-for-perpetuity “Gunung Lanno — a natural heritage that needs to be preserved” https://www.malaymail.com/news/life/2019/07/07/gunung-lanno-a-natural-heritage-that-needs-to-be-preserved/1769108
Kinta Valley Watch