Wednesday, April 4, 2012

malaysiakini: MCA urges Putrajaya to scrap Lynas plant

MCA urges Putrajaya to scrap Lynas plant
MCA has urged the federal government to bar Australia's Lynas Corporation from operating its controversial rare earth refinery in Gebeng, near Kuantan.

In a press release yesterday, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek said it was no longer a matter of whether the plant is safe, but that the government could not ignore the views of the people.

"It is clear that the majority of the people are against the Lynas project. It is not a question of whether it is safe or not safe. It is simply a case of the majority of Malaysians being against Lynas.

"MCA urges the federal government, as a responsive and sensitive government that respects the views of the people, to cancel the project.

"While there are conflicting views and stands on the safety level of Lynas, the common view is that the Lynas project is not something that creates huge number of jobs or high-value investment technological know-how.

"In short, Pahang can do without the Lynas plant," said Chua, who uncharacteristically wrote five paragraphs of his statementin capital letters to emphasise his key points.

No compromise over waste plans

Chua added that many Malaysians, including Pahang MCA leaders, have voiced their objections against the Lynas plant.

An anti Lynas activist displays a placard during a Green Gathering 2.0 in Kuantan 2Such views, he said, were also shared by environmental groups which have met with MCA.

However, Chua stressed that this did not mean that MCA was of the opinion that the Lynas plant is not safe.

While not providing any argument in defence of the safety of the plant, Chua made it clear that his party had "strongly opposed" the issuance of a temporary operating licence to Lynas should the company fail to guarantee that it would dispose of its waste products outside the country.

"MCA will not compromise on this matter. The party will not deviate from its stand to listen to the voices from the ground," he said.

MCA is the second BN component party to have officially objected to the Lynas project after Gerakan. Both parties fear a backlash from voters in the coming general election, which must be called by mid-2013.

Time is ticking for the anti-Lynas lobby, which has organised two major rallies against the plant over fears of radiation dangers.
Lynas announced yesterday that the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) was ready to begin operations in three weeks and the only obstacle was obtaining the temporary operating licence - which has been approved but not issued.

DAP flip-flopped over PSC

Should Putrajaya decide to scrap the project, Chua predicts the opposition Pakatan Rakyat would claim victory and Malaysia would suffer in the eyes of the international business community.

"But that is secondary as the MCA strongly advocates the need to listen to the people in the line with (the federal government's) ‘People First' slogan," said Chua.

stop lynas 220212 03Chua also slammed the DAP for refusing to sit in the newly-formed parliamentary select committee (PSC) on the Lynas plant.

He said DAP had demanded for the PSC on Feb 26 through its vice-chairperson Dr Tan Seng Giaw, but its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said on March 19 that the party would boycott the PSC,  after Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the panel could not decideon the fate of the plant.

"This flip-flop attitude - in less than a month - reflects the political opportunistic nature of the DAP and its allies in Pakatan.

"Refusing to recognise potentially truthful scientific evidence and data, he chose to stay out for purely political expediency," said Chua.

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