PUTRAJAYA - The Government will clean the bauxite mining dirt on Pahang roads first and send the bill to the mining companies later, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
In response to criticism for using the Fire and Rescue Department to clean up bauxite waste on public roads, the minister said the clean-up needed to be done fast.
"We are in a desperate situation. The residents are angry and have complained about the mess on the road caused by lorries carrying bauxite from mines to the port.
"Do we sit and wait until we figure out who should clean it up?
"The Fire and Rescue Department's motto is to serve the people, and we have the equipment. Cleaning the dirt is no problem for us," said Abdul Rahman.
He added that identifying the companies responsible for the bauxite mess would take time espcially the illegal ones.
"To be frank, it does not cost the Fire and Rescue Department much, but maybe (solid waste company) Alam Flora Sdn Bhd will have a bigger bill.
"Once the companies are identified, we can bill them later, just like how we did with Bersih 4," Abdul Rahman told reporters here yesterday.
He was referring to the Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur last year, when its organisers were given a RM65,000 (S$21,000) clean-up bill by the City Hall.
Last week, the Fire and Rescue Department, together with Alam Flora and the Kuantan Municipal Council, sent about 100 officers to clean up bauxite stained roads.
Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh was among the critics of the move, saying that the mining concessionaires, lorry companies and bauxite exporters should be doing the clean-up, and that public funds should not be used.
"YB Fuziah is taking a simple approach to this. Is she willing to tell her own constituents who are suffering from the pollution to wait until the companies are identified before the clean-up of the roads can start?" said Abdul Rahman.