Sacofa to dispel telco tower ‘myths’ via public talks

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(From left) The speakers Chee and Roha join Miri Mayor Adam Yii and Sacofa head of legal, regulatory and compliance Si Kiang Seng in a photo-call at Pustaka Miri auditorium.

MIRI: Sacofa Sdn Bhd aims to dispel public ‘myths’ surrounding telecommunications (telco) towers through series of public talks.

Recently, the information and communications technology (ICT) company conducted its latest public engagement exercise at the auditorium of Pustaka Miri, held in collaboration with the Malaysian Nuclear Agency and Miri City Council (MCC).

The speakers were Chee Lay Heng of CISSPR Sdn Bhd and Roha Tukimin of the Malaysian Nuclear Agency.

According to a Sacofa press statement, the session followed those run in collaboration with Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) on April 27 and Kuching South City Council (MBKS) on Aug 8.

“There are more (programmes) planned for 2018.

“The objective is to share with the public what the authorities are doing in terms of testing works as well as regulations and compliance to protect them and at the same time, countering the misperceptions surrounding telco towers.”

The sessions focused on radio frequency (RF) and electromagnetic field (EMF), highlighting recent test results conducted across Sarawak, aimed at proving that telco towers pose no threat to public health and safety.

“The emission level of RF and EMF, which many alleged is harmful to humans, is actually in compliance with the standard and requirements at state, national and international levels.”

It is learnt that the RF testing was conducted by the Malaysian Nuclear Agency between January and October this year across eight rural and urban sites – with two more areas scheduled for testing for the remainder of the year.

“The tests revealed that emissions in the immediate vicinity of the telco tower sites varied from as little as 0.01 per cent to 0.26 per cent of the maximum exposure limit levels set by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and are fully compliant with the standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).”

The tested sites were two each in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Sarikei. The upcoming two areas slated for RF emission assessment/audit in 2017 will be in Bintulu.”

Meanwhile, Sacofa managing director Mohamed Zaid Zaini pointed out the common misconceptions on telco towers had been highlighted by diverse groups – ranging from the media to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and even key authoritative figures.

“Our public engagement exercise provides an excellent opportunity for the experts to lay out the facts that are backed up by hard evidence, to ensure that the public concerns are met and the misconceptions – sometimes motivated by questionable intentions – are tackled head-on through research and testing.”

According to him, the most recent round of testing has shown that Sacofa’s towers are performing, on average, 790 times better than the ICNIRP standards, which are set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and have been adopted by the Malaysian Health Ministry.

“Telco towers emit RF radiation, which is considered non-ionising and operate at extremely low frequencies – RF is harmless to humans at the minimal levels at which Sacofa towers are built.

“To put that into context, that is the same kind of harmless emission given off by radios, lamps and televisions,” Zaid pointed out.