As Lynas plant looms, man begs PM for kids’ future

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — A Kuantan man made an impassioned plea today for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to halt the construction of a controversial rare earths refinery near his home town, after an attempt to protest the project was snubbed earlier by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Earlier today, about 100 residents from Kuantan had gathered at the entrance of Parliament to voice out against Australian mining firm Lynas’s plans to build the new plant in Gebeng.

“We don’t want another Bukit Merah incident. We just want to make an appeal to PM. I know you (Najib) are watching, but this is what the citizens want,” implored Vincent Jiam Tee Hoong, the chairman of the residents’ movement.

Bukit Merah in Perak was the site of rare earth plant operated by Mitsubishi Chemicals, which has been blamed for an increase in the incidence of leukaemia in workers and nearby residents.

The site was shut down in the 1990s but, two decades later, is now undergoing a reported RM300 million clean-up operation by Mitsubishi Chemicals.

Stressing that the opposition to the construction was grounded in concerns over safety hazards posed by the radioactive material to be processed at the plant, Jiam took pains to say that the protest was not political in nature.

“We want you (Najib) to be remembered doing one thing for us. You could be a ‘bapa penyelamat’ (father of salvation),” the father of two told reporters during an emotional press conference today.

The kindergarten teacher at times struggled to contain his outrage as he pleaded with the Australian firm to abandon its plans for the refinery.

“Please pack up and leave and go home and leave. Don’t leave anything behind. Don’t even leave your slippers behind,” he said in a trembling voice.

Revealing that the movement had so far gathered over 20,000 signatures for a petition against the plant, Jiam then asked Malaysians to put themselves in the shoes of those staying in the vicinity of the plant and to lend their support in opposing it.

“How many residents will be affected? I believe the whole nation will be affected. Please care for us,” he said.

The Lynas plant is being built in the Gebeng Industrial Zone some 25km to the north of the state capital here.

Lynas corporate and business development vice president Matthew James has denied that the plant will be dangerous and told The Malaysian Insider that radiation will be minimal as the raw material used has only two per cent of the thorium found in the material processed in Bukit Merah.

Thorium is the radioactive element found in nearly all rare earth deposits.

However Dr Jayabalan A. Thambyappa, the toxicologist who treated radiation victims linked to the Bukit Merah rare earth plant, has dismissed claims there will be little or no health hazards from a renewed attempt to process the valuable metals in Gebeng.

He told The Malaysian Insider that “the issue of safe levels of radiation does not arise; carcinogens are carcinogens” and warned that the government was going down the same route as the Bukit Merah refinery that shut down in 1992.

Lynas is expecting to receive a preliminary operating licence from the AELB before September to begin refining the rare earth metals, used in such high-technology products as smartphones, hybrid cars and even bombs.

  1. #1 by wanderer on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 5:25 pm

    This UMNO PM where got time for “small men”…got plenty of time if you are Saiful, the belakan specialist! You blokes janan bising bising la, after my water gate also tutup!!

  2. #2 by ShiokGuy on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 5:26 pm

    Just ask whether the Australian people are willing to have the same plant at their Backyard.

    Please leave

    Shiok Guy

  3. #3 by Thor on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 5:30 pm

    “We want you (Najib) to be remembered doing one thing for us. You could be a ‘bapa penyelamat’ (father of salvation),” the father of two told reporters during an emotional press conference today.

    Bapa penyelamat???
    Hah! Hah! Hah!
    He’s “Bapak Hancur”, to be more precise!
    Hancur Altantuya!
    Hancur TBH!
    And now with nuclear plant coming, Hancur lah kita semua!!!
    You wanna put a stop to that Lynas plant.
    You’ve to get in more voters to hancur BN first, in this coming GE!
    Do you understand me, Mr Vincent Jiam?

  4. #4 by monsterball on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 5:32 pm

    PM no time to listen to small men that cares.
    He got time to meet his Penang blog visitors.

  5. #5 by dagen on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 5:36 pm

    Aiyah just dont waste time. You stupid fools from kuantan ask yourselves this one important question: Do you people hv a few billions to give umno? No? Then phaaaark the hell off!

  6. #6 by Winston on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 5:38 pm

    If the whole damn thing is so darn safe, why have the work done here?
    We are going to be a first world country in a few years’ time and first world countries don’t undertake this kind of work!
    Also, dump the BN in the next GE and void the contract as such contracts that bring harm to people must not be enforced!

  7. #7 by Bunch of Suckers on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 5:47 pm

    Well, the suckers do not care as whether residents got leukemia or not! The suckers care only their own pockets must be full instead of empty. This is exactly what BN/UMNO wants and hopes when these suckers in powers!

  8. #8 by monsterball on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 6:16 pm

    This Kintagarden teacher speaks lots of sense and matters concerning Malaysians health…with so many highly intelligent and respectable Malaysians supporting him…..yet Najib wiil not meet him.
    What kind of People’s PM is he?
    But then we all know…Najib is a great liar and terrible hypocrite..the all the reasons why like he is like that …don’t we?

  9. #9 by DAP_VICTORY on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 6:58 pm

    hello, commision is already paid by lynas how can stop the project.

  10. #10 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 7:58 pm

    Najib’s “People First, Performance Now” is a complete sham. He had better change it to “People Last, Money Now”.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 8:06 pm

    Poor Kindergarten teacher is punching above his weight class. No point pleading for Lynas to abandon its lucrative project. You should address your own government agencies – Department of Environment (DoE), The Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), and Nuclear Malaysia (NM) – why they approve the project as meeting national & international standards of safety. You can’t attack the project based on just assumptions of who and who politically linked getting the construction, design, engineering works from Lynas. You have got to have experts to contradict Lynas assertions.

    According to Lynas, its raw material from unique geology of Mount Weld in Australia (shipped to Gebeng is not the same as that processed at Bukit Merah. Mount Weld one has extremely low if not negligble level of radio active thorium. In fact it asserts that exposure for an employee at the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (let alone resident 25 KM away) will be only 0.2mSv/year• as compared to a higher 2.4mSV/annum natural radiation from the normal environment, lifestyle eg smoking, medical or dental x-ray, sleeping next to your spouse for 8 hour, watching television 2 hour daily, air travel, using computer terminal for blogging!

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 8:16 pm

    ///Australia does not have the industrial infrastructure required for this project as can be found at Gebeng, Malaysia. Lynas could not find in Australia a location that has established industrial land, local production of required industrial chemicals, gas, electricity and a plentiful supply of water for the plant///- Lynas

    Many of us don’t believe that. At this moment we have no technical expertise to rebut the other assertion – that due to extremely low level of radio active thorium in the materials you get from Mount Weld the doages of radioactivity at 0.2mSv/year (for a worker) is even less than higher 2.4mSV/annum natural radiation from the normal environment. What many are worried is contamination of waters on cumulative basis when you wash in the refinery the ores, no matter how low the thorium you claim there is, and how the water will seep to the water table.

  13. #13 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 8:42 pm

    Halo Matthew James,bring you wife and children down here for vacation.I have a plot of land for your stay in the vicinity of the plant.Make yourself at home and we truly welcome you and your ‘now still’ healthy family to bolehland.Bolehland’s rare earth can also make healthy breast device for your misses,you know.You will chiak beh liau.

  14. #14 by baochingtian on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 8:55 pm

    Sure, the papak penyelamat will do his after sales service. If got any problem after the plant is built, he’ll get another consultant and contractor to carry out another mega project to solve the problem and for that he’ll be remembered forever… by then he’ll also be retiring in his wonderland with rosimah and the children.

  15. #15 by wanderer on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 9:03 pm

    The moderator got moderated by monsterball!! no?
    Monsterball, back to business as usual….

  16. #16 by limkamput on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 9:22 pm

    All of you may be wrong. I got the feeling that the PM will acquiesce to the demand. This is the strategy – the government is sensitive to the concerns and the needs of the people even though in their hearts they don’t give a damn.

  17. #17 by Godfather on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - 10:20 pm

    When Lim Kam Put gets a gut feeling, we all had better watch out…..

    I’m not sure that the government, especially the Pahang state, can actually back out of the deal now. It has been in the works for over 2 years, and certain payments have already been made, so to reverse the decision could mean even worse political consequences, especially if the Aussies decide to sue to get their money back.

  18. #18 by tak tahan on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 12:17 am

    Pahang state can back out with the help of Ibrahim n perkosa shouting shit,shit and throwing shit at Aussie embassy.Besides,kangaroo judges also will back up Pahang state.The problem may be the criminals would not get their full commission$$$ and risk their identities exposed.

  19. #19 by k1980 on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 7:35 am

    Why not build it in putrajaya, next door to the pm’s palace? If so, I would like to donate to its construction costs.

  20. #20 by k1980 on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 7:37 am

    The jappies are trying to give awayl their damaged fukushima reactors for free. Why not get them and set them up in kuantan too?

  21. #21 by dagen on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 8:25 am

    So you think lynas is bad? And and and the nuclear station is bad too? Wait. The real one and only truly bad thing this country ever has is umno! Nothing else could be worse. Nothing.

    But really, if umno could not be honest and transparent with the people on the lynas project, how on earth can the people trust them with something worse, something potentially much much more harmful, no deadly; something like refined U-238? If umno could not get our proton car power window to work for 6 months without problem, how could umno prevent radioactive leakage from happening? If umno could cover up the 40m corruption crime by rahim thamby chik, how could the people not believe that umno would also cover all technical (and deadly problems) affecting the nuclear station?

    Oh I forgot. But jib’s got tower-power. There, it is enough. I feel sufficiently comforted already. I feel confident that with jib’s tower-power umno can do anything. If I were radiated to ashes, jib’s tower-power could be used to reconstitute me back into form and into life again. Yeah!

    Jib Jib Boleh!

  22. #22 by k1980 on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 8:33 am

    jib’s tower-power = cintanegara’s rambutan-tree power

    = chua soiled leg’s third-leg power

  23. #23 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 8:43 am

    This group should ask. Is Najib willing to write a blank check that his children, grandchidren, great-grands and on and on will have to pay with EVERTHING THEY HAVE?

  24. #24 by hallo on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 8:57 am

    Should ask why there is no transparency about these plant?

    How it got approval?

    Is that any corruption involve?

    Why no public local opinion before it process and approve?

    Are the governments elected administrators
    /politicians take granted do whatever they like in our land Malaysia without any consent of royal or Malaysians even it involve danger?

  25. #25 by Godfather on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:02 am

    If you read the responses from Lynas themselves to reporters’ questions, you really want to puke. They say there isn’t enough clean water or power or other chemicals in Australia. No clean water or power in Queensland ? No chemicals that the plant needs ? The real answer is that the raw materials are much more expensive in Australia and the enforcement standards so much higher that it translates also into higher costs of maintenance.

    In fact, when this plant was mooted way back in the mid 2000s, the consideration was that we offer a much cheaper alternative compared to Australia. We also offered when investors call a “compliant” regime where problems can be solved very quickly, whether it is sweeping things under the carpet or through making low value restitution.

    This is where we have to change. We can’t be opening our doors to controversial industries because we offer a cheap alternative and a lax oversight regime.

  26. #26 by hallo on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:30 am

    The group should team up all races.

    Get ready to go sarawak during election.

    Go there tell to air your complaints.

    This will definitely work for sure.

  27. #27 by Bunch of Suckers on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 11:36 am

    k1980 :
    The jappies are trying to give awayl their damaged fukushima reactors for free. Why not get them and set them up in kuantan too?

    That’s right! Our JPENIS nuke plants on free-give-away, our BN/UMNO suckers must go and get them quick…

    Oops! Those suckers cannot rip much as it compares to building from scraps with maintenance costs of the existing plants…

  28. #28 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 1:52 pm

    wanderer….I sometimes suspect it all depends on the good mood of moderator….ready for anything or play safe…and he knows best.
    I do not blame him.

  29. #29 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 2:31 pm

    The Govt band of robbers and thieves are sensitive towards loosing 13th GE..and get arrested for corruptions…period.
    The Govt. is sensitive towards voters moods and demands….and so many side shows performed are for selfish reasons….which brings me back to my opening statement.
    Any fool can understand crooks need to show concern and care for Malaysians to win votes.
    We are all right!

  30. #30 by wanderer on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 3:47 pm

    Monsterball, “To know, know him is to love, love him….yes you do” hehe

  31. #31 by Ray on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 4:35 pm

    Lynas is a Real Warning for Umnoputras Political Struggle and destiny…End is Near!!
    Its not about ones courage self confident…But rather “” Skeleton Reality that certainly crippled the nation, gripped the world when the crisis struck””either cause by Nature or Human error..then Malusai Malaysia Economy will be Totally Regress ,Ringgit Plunge ,FDI runaway,Bank Negara Trillion RM losses a nature or human ernd thats it ….Goodness grief

  32. #32 by Watery Fish on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:11 pm

    Think the main issue is not the raw material imported from Australia. The problem is the waste material after processing. Not musch has been disclosed by Lynas on the radioactivity of the waste material. More importantly, how this waste material can be disposed of safely without any harm to living things ( plants, animals and human being) and environment (water, air, soil ) !!!! The highly educated and knowledgeable experts in AELB (Malaysia) and DOE (Malaysia) must be held fully responsible and accountable for approving Lynas to operate in Malaysia. What is the Australian governments views/rules on the disposal of such waste material ?
    As a preventive measure, it is suggested that all the waste material ( every single kilo) must be shipped/exported directly back to Australia, not to any other 3rd country, to be disposed in the vast land mass that Australia is not short of. AELB, DOE, Lynas must be made responsible and accountable to the execution of the complete shipment/export under the watchful eyes of relevant independent NGOs/Health Ministry.

  33. #33 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:25 pm

    I wonder who is kissing him now?
    I wonder who is lovig him now.
    Maybe godfather…nay nay nay…but a wanderer wanders to know him is…yes he does..yes he does.
    Band from Malaysiakini….like me
    laugh…’hehehe”…not “hahaha”.
    Half laugh half shy…the wonderful brown eyes wanderer….HOHOHOHOHOHO

  34. #34 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:31 pm

    One tak boleh tahan will comment and get MODERATED…for no reasons…poor fella.
    Love an idiot…wanderer?
    Sure…why not…harmless and entertaining.
    But also no manners and bragging…how to love him?
    Also cannot ignore.
    Must have opposite poles….attracting me.. ooh.

  35. #35 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:45 pm

    But MODERATOR….sure I love him…because I know him.
    I pretend to feel disappointed…and teased him.
    This fearless man is avoiding trouble to be around free during 13th GE.
    First Anwar..who is next…and third and fourth?
    Operation Lallang…it was young LGE first in …last out.
    I wait for Operation ..”Clean Up Crooks”.
    But first thing first.
    Walk into PutraJaya…feeling great ..MODERATOR should throw a party for all of us…roti chani/tea tarik…enough. know know him…is to love love him.

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