British U’s local campus project in limbo due to incinerator

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Nov 27, 2002, 10:38:44 AM11/27/02
British U’s local campus project in limbo due to incinerator

Claudia Theophilus
11:23am Wed Nov 27th, 2002

The relocation of the controversial RM1.5 billion thermal incinerator to
Broga has raised the concern of the University of Nottingham in Malaysia
whose new campus will be built there.

The university’s fourth campus — and its first outside of the UK — is
located in the small ‘cowboy’ town straddling Selangor and Negeri
Sembilan, within an area named Mutiara Putra, about 4km from Semenyih.

The mega-incinerator has been planned for construction on state-owned
land about 5km from Semenyih, along the way to Broga.

The university intends to meet with the Selangor government and other
relevant authorities to get a clearer picture of the implications of the
1,500-tonne capacity 20-ha plant on the surrounding area.

The decision to relocate the plant from Kampung Bohol, Puchong, was made
last week in response to mounting public pressure including threats of a
ballot swing against the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, which
controls five of the six surrounding constituencies.

Rationale unknown

The university’s central administration director Paul Boardman, when
contacted yesterday, said they were trying to seek a meeting with the
relevant authorities as soon as possible since they were unsure of the

“We haven’t had any time to digest the recent developments. It is a very
disturbing development.

“Obviously, with an incinerator of this kind, we need to know the
implications of not just the smell but also concerns over suspended
particulates and dioxin emission,” he said.

“From what we’ve read in the newspapers, the Japanese technology seems
clean but then, there is no information about the technical side of it.”

Boardman said other concerns include potentially-disruptive downstream
activities such as the movement of garbage trucks and the loss of a
serene environment.

“The situation is of great concern to us and we are discussing the
matter as well as seeking some legal advice,” he said.

“At this stage, we want to understand the technology used and the
rationale for relocating the incinerator to Broga.”

An estimated 4,000 people live in Broga and the surrounding villages
where rubber-tapping is the main commercial activity.

There are several housing areas along the Semenyih-Broga road, including
Taman Tasik Semenyih, comprising bungalow units and shoplots. Almost
half of them are vacant.

Further delay

The Chinese community live in a new village hidden behind Broga town in
neatly-arranged rows of wooden and ‘batu blok’ houses while the small
Indian population can mostly be found in the surrounding estates, some
of which have been sold to developers.

Locals also say there are about 70 Orang Asli living in another village
behind the town, which has two primary vernacular schools nearby with
about 200 and 300 Chinese and Indian pupils respectively.

In January this year, the ground-breaking ceremony for the campus
building was officiated by Defence Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who had
also graduated from UK’s University of Nottingham.

The campus, to be built on a 40-ha site, is scheduled to open in
September 2005 and can take in 2,500 students for 18 graduate and
post-graduate courses in business, engineering and computer science.

The construction of the first phase, which was scheduled for completion
in December 2004, reportedly costs RM60 million. At present the
university's temporary campus is located in Kuala Lumpur (photo).

The campus is a joint venture project between UK’s University of
Nottingham, Boustead Holdings Berhad, a subsidiary of the Armed Forces
Superannuation Fund (LTAT), and YTL Corporation Bhd.

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