Improve local football instead of building incinerator

PETALING JAYA - The Government should not build an incinerator said to cost RM1billion (S$ 389 million) in Kuala Lumpur, but instead, use the funds to improve the standard of football here, says tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan.

Tan, who is the Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) founder, said the Government should rethink its plans as existing mode of managing municipal solid waste (MSW), that included sending raw garbage to the Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill, was "effectively managing" the waste generated in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

"The Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill has a capacity of about 120 million tonnes, and can cater to waste generated in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (of around 5,000 tonnes per day) for over 65 years," he said in a statement.

According to Tan, Bukit Tagar, which has been operating since 2005, is receiving 2,500 tonnes of waste per day from Kuala Lumpur alone.

The concessionaire for Bukit Tagar is KUB-Berjaya Enviro Sdn Bhd, which is 60 per cent owned by BCorp and 40 per cent by KUB Malaysia Bhd.

Recently, Urban, Wellbeing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan had said it was inevitable for the incinerator to be built.

The tender for the incinerator, which will be located at the present waste transfer station at Taman Beringin, Kepong, is expected to be awarded by next June, with a view of starting operations in 2018.

Tan said he believed the Government "may have been misled" by certain quarters with their own agenda in promoting the incinerator project.

"Apart from safety and environmental issues, the incinerator project will drain our foreign reserves as most of the equipment and components will need to be sourced from overseas," he said.

As incineration will reduce waste volume by about 90 per cent, and weight by 80 per cent, KUB-Berjaya Enviro is expected to have a significantly reduced in­­come stream as the tonnage of waste going to the landfill will be several times lower post-incineration.

The severe reduction of raw garbage to Bukit Tagar will also threaten the future viability of KUB-Berjaya Enviro's landfill gas (methane) harvesting project for electricity generation, which qualifies for special rates under the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) offered by the Sustainable Energy Development Authority.

The project's 4.4MW gas engine is dependent on methane generated by the anaerobic (low-oxygen conditions) decomposition of raw waste in the landfill.

Tan said the RM1bil for the incinerator should be instead channelled to the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to further develop national football.

"Something must be done to revive our standing in the football world. We are a football loving nation and I believe we have many talented youngsters who can aspire to the highest levels of football if given the opportunity to do so," he said.

"Why spend RM1bil on an incinerator project and have it end up as a white elephant? Why not instead invest that RM1bil to build football academies throughout Malaysia?" Tan questioned.