People in Kechau in Lipis, Pahang have been instructed by the state government to stop their activities involving the extraction of gold even if the land belongs to them or is in their housing settlements
Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail has asked people who do not have a licence to mine gold to stop the activity immediately as it legal action could be taken against them.
According to the Pahang MB, stern action has to be taken to avoid the situation from getting out of hand which could result in losses to the state government and untoward incidents including pollution.
"Although the villagers claim they are extracting the gold nuggets found within their own land but it is already against the law," he was quoted as saying by New Straits Times yesterday, 26 February.
"They have breached rules and regulations for doing so without approval as the minerals are under the jurisdiction of the state government," he said, adding that all mining activities in the state need approval from the Pahang government and those who intend to should apply to the relevant agencies.
"I urge the villagers who have been mining illegally to immediately stop their activities and seek permission from the District Land and Mines Office. The authorities have conducted several operations and seized machineries at illegal mining sites in the district but some remain stubborn."
This comes after reports that residents in the area, dubbed "gold village", discovered the precious metal within their housing settlements and started carrying out mining activities using excavators
A report in Kosmo said that the villagers have experienced an economic boom following the discovery.
According to the Malay tabloid, some of the residents of the village have bought new vehicles including excavators to facilitate the gold mining activities on their land.
Additionally, the existence of gold in the area has also caused cases of land grab among siblings.
According to MB Wan Rosdy, the decision to ask residents to stop the activity has to be made to safeguard others living in the vicinity
He was asked if the move by the state government could be seen as "cruel".
"We have to be reasonable and look into other aspects as well. If there are reports of water pollution resulting from the mining activities, then the government will have to take stern action and we do not want things to worsen or impact the environment," he said, adding that the state government has considered a proposal to implement small scale mining scheme for activities involving an area of 10 acres and below.
It will be called the Small Miners Scheme (SPK) and is expected to take effect in June.
He said the SPK will be coordinated by the Pahang Mining Corporation Sdn Bhd (PMC) to help the villagers be involved in legal mining activities and stop leakages in state revenues.