Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 6, 2008

No wireless project if proven bad for health

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:33 am

NST: GEORGE TOWN: Penang is ready to stop the free Wireless@Penang broadband project if there is scientific proof to show that the health of the people will be adversely affected.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government was prepared to widen its consultations to include holding public forums with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and members of the public who were uneasy about the health risks posed by the use of wireless connections to the Internet.
“Public consultation is a continuing process even after a project is announced.
“We believe in accountability. We are open to cancelling the wireless project, which is aimed at providing free WiFi connection to the entire state within 24 months, if NGOs or any party can show incontrovertible evidence that there are harmful health risks,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Last month, the state government announced the staggered implementation of wireless broadband services statewide. They are the free-of-charge WiFi and the affordably-priced wireless WiMAX.
The project is being undertaken by REDTone-Hotgate consortium and Packet One (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
They are service providers licensed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and have the approval of Sirim and the Malaysian Nuclear Agency.
The Consumers Association of Penang has proposed that the project be stopped until the state government proves that it is safe.
Lim said previous informal consultations with various sectors had not indicated any controversy or opposition.
On the contrary, there had been strong support for the project because of the opportunities it would create in education and business.
Lim said prior to the launching of Wireless@Penang, his officers had consulted the MCMC and the local industry regulator, who pointed to their adherence to safety Code 6 of Health Canada, which covers RF exposure compliance of Radiocommunication Apparatus for all frequency bands.
This refers to the conclusions of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a report that considered 10 years of research.
The report from the United Nations body stated that the amount of non-ionising radiation absorbed by a person’s body from a WiFi station was less than one-fifth what they received from FM radios and TVs that surrounded them day and night.
“We are assured that the WiFi and WiMAX apparatus and equipment being used in Malaysia are within the safety guidelines.”
Lim said that having a state-wide wireless network for Internet access and bringing the service to all segments of society would help the government attain its vision of transforming Penang into an international city, one that was a location of choice for investors, destination of choice for tourists and habitat of choice for residents desiring sustainable living.
“Nevertheless, for the purpose of public education, the state government will make available the various research papers pertaining to public concern over RF radiation that have been wrongly linked to WiFi and WiMAX.”
The chief minister added that should there be proof to show that the WHO report and studies made by others were wrong, the state government would immediately cancel and abandon the project.

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