Selangor, 30 October 2006
Lafarge Malayan Cement Berhad with the support of the Selangor State Government will embark on a project to widen and divert a section of Sungai Rawang to curb flash floods, which recurrence have been affecting the safety of squatter colonies and the cement manufacturer's quarry located within the Kampung Kuala Garing vicinity.
The announcement was made today by Alain Crouÿ, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Malayan Cement at an official ceremony, which saw 124 squatter families from the affected area relocated into proper new homes to facilitate the river diversion project. YB Dato' Sri Chan Kong Choy, Minister of Transport and Member of Parliament for Selayang, officiated the ceremony at the new housing estate named Desa Kuala Garing that was specially built for the squatter families.
According to Crouÿ, Lafarge Malayan Cement is strongly committed to be one of the safest industrialists. "Having studied the flash floods caused by the overflowing of Sungai Rawang in recent years, we found it to be unpredictable, with the potential to endanger squatter residents living in the Kampung Kuala Garing area, our workers in the Rawang quarry and the industrial activities there. As such, we have initiated this river diversion project to increase its capacity and control its flow, so as to prevent further disruption or disaster to its surrounding areas," he said.
In March 2001, continuous heavy downpour caused flash floods in Rawang and disrupted the lives of some 15,000 people, destroying much of their belongings. Whilst that was the worst flood incident in the district to date, the frequent flooding of the river poses a daily threat to the people, environment and industrial activities surrounding it.
Sungai Rawang runs along the western boundary of Lafarge Malayan Cement's Rawang Plant; and the Kampung Kuala Garing squatters are located on its western bank. The river diversion project will include diverting it westward away from Rawang Plant's quarry, making it necessary to move the squatter on the western bank to a safer location.
"Moving the squatters and clearing the land will not only make way for the river diversion project, it will also allow the squatter residents to re-locate to a safer environment with better living conditions," said Crouÿ.
The successful relocation of the Kampung Kuala Garing squatters was indeed an achievement for Lafarge Malayan Cement. With co-operation and assistance from the State Government, it took the company three years to gain consensus from squatter families to move out of their current illegal houses, which was first built on the land 30 years ago.
The relocation programme saw each squatter family given ownership of an 800 square feet single story terrace house complete with basic modern amenities. The Desa Kuala Garing housing estate, that began construction in April 2005, also comes with a bus stop, children's playground, kindergarten, community hall, basketball court and food stalls for a more conducive community environment.
In his speech, YB Dato' Sri Chan Kong Choy said, "Over the past 3 decades, the rise of squatter colonies in Selangor has been a growing concern for the State Government. Most of these squatter colonies have poor living conditions and very often, they contribute to our housing, health, social, and crime problems, and even environmental damages."
"Indeed, today's occasion will not only help to bring better quality of lives to the people of Kampung Kuala Garing, Rawang, it will also serve as a stepping stone for the country's social development as we work towards achieving the country's Vision 2020," he added.
It was a poignant moment for most of the squatters who attended the ceremony as the event bore significance of a better living condition and community life in their new homes.
Amongst some squatters that are eager to move into the new homes are Encik Abdul Rahim bin Kusaddaly and his family. "The new house comes in timely for us as it will not only provide a conducive environment for my wife and I, but more so for our 3-year-old grandson who lives with us. We are glad that we will now be able to bring him up in a safe and clean environment. I would like to thank both Lafarge and the State Government for giving us this opportunity. We are also looking forward to make new friends in our new neighbourhood," said the 62-year-old grandfather with a smile.
Madam Khoo, 52, who received her new home in good faith said, "I have lived here for 28 years and to move out of a familiar surrounding can be apprehensive. But we are very happy to be moving to a home with a better environment."
Development of the new Desa Kuala Garing housing estate was a joint effort between Lafarge Malayan Cement and the Selangor State Government. Subsidised by both Lafarge and the State Government, squatter families had to pay a minimum cost for their new homes as well as quit rent to give them full ownership of the houses and land titles covering a 99-year lease period.
The Sungai Rawang diversion and widening project is expected to commence early next year and will take approximately 8 months to complete.
About Lafarge Malayan Cement Berhad
Lafarge Malayan Cement Berhad (LMCB) is the leader of the Malaysian cement industry and a major player in the Asian export market. It was incorporated in 1950 with its first cement plant built in Malaysia in 1953.
LMCB is today the parent of a group of companies in Malaysia and Singapore whose core businesses are in the manufacturing and sale of cement, ready-mixed concrete and other related building materials.
LMCB currently employs 2000 people and operates a nationwide network of facilities, which include 3 integrated cement plants in Langkawi, Kanthan and Rawang, a grinding plant in Pasir Gudang and distribution channels by road, rail and sea.
Additional information is available on the website at www.lafargemalayancement.com.
Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in all four of its businesses: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. With 80,000 employees in 76 countries, Lafarge posted sales of Euros 16 billions in 2005.
Lafarge has been committed to sustainable development for many years, pursuing a strategy that combines industrial know-how with performance, value creation, respect for employees and local cultures, environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources and energy. Lafarge is the only company in the construction materials sector to be listed in the 2006 ‘100 Global Most Sustainable Corporations in the World'. To make advances in building materials, Lafarge places the customer at the heart of its concerns. It offers the construction industry and the general public innovative solutions bringing greater safety, comfort and quality to their everyday surroundings.
Additional information is available on the web site at www.lafarge.com.
For further information, please contact:
Irene Thng Tel: 03- 76608486 Fax: 03- 76608115