The Lynas flip-flop

— Sam Peh
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 03, 2012

MARCH 3 — For a government which is sure that the Lynas rare earth plant is safe, the flip-flops of the past 48 hours have been illuminating. After saying that the Lynas plant was scientifically and factually safe, Najib Razak did an about-turn and said that Lynas will be asked to store/bury the waste away from the local communities in Kuantan.

Oh let me see, where do we start? Which position should we accept as representative of the Najib administration’s stand on this investment from Australia?

The Atomic Energy Licensing Board aka official spokesman for Lynas (and a regulator which is participating in revenue share with Lynas): the waste from the rare earth plant is safe and can be stored in Gebeng.

Liow Tiong Lai, Maximus Ongkili and a couple of other ministers, obviously concerned with the political fallout rather than health concerns of residents: the waste must be shipped back to Australia. Never mind that the Green Party which keeps Julia Gilliard government in office would never allow the import of any waste.

Najib Razak: Lynas will be asked to store the waste away from Gebeng.

This flip-flopping and verbal gymnastics only serve to confirm what many of us believe: the government’s knowledge about this investment is sketchy at best and now that they have approved this investment they feel they can’t undo the damage completely without upsetting Australia.

Never mind that Australia is becoming synonymous for exporting their rubbish to us: Rio Tinto pollution-spewing smelter in Sarawak, Lynas rare earth plant and the controversial plan to send us some dodgy political asylum-seekers.

Najib may think that he has found a solution to the Lynas problem. He has not. He has only shown us another side to the incompetence of the government and its inability to protect us.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Saturday, 3 March 2012 - 7:40 pm

    Any rakyat who believes in NR n UmnoB/BN better expect d sun 2 rise fr d west

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 3 March 2012 - 8:09 pm

    Ah Jib Gor said earlier Lynas Gebeng Plant safe and now he says we put the plant away from the local communities in Kuantan. It is argued that he flips flops: if safe as he earlier said, why now concede to relocate? Well actually he could just defend and explain away that he does not flip flop in sense being inconsistent. He could, for eg, say “though your fear of public health being jeopardized is irrational (irrational cos experts in regulatory agencies DOE, IAEA and ALLB all say its OK- I’ll still accommodate to male Lynas compromise, move the plant away from residential centre to let you have your peace of mind because its election year, I help you (give you peace of mind) you help me (wink wink votes). After all the first objection was based on Gebeng near densely populated Kuantan…Now I move it far away maybe in middle jungle and you people still object that Lynas should not be in Malaysia! Now who is flip flopping?”

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 3 March 2012 - 8:34 pm

    This debate can’t be rationalized to satisfactory resolution because of one fundamental issue not openly brought out though is underpins everything. That issue is about a section of Malaysian society that considers itself “informed” have no trust in what the government does or say. The govt simply suffers a credibility & trust deficit. When the govt says this Lynas project will bring in RM700 million foreign investment, people will say so what – how many cronies will benefit? Why would we think they care about RM700 million when they just write off RM840 million to bail out Tajudin? Few Malaysians will understand arguments of Lynas rare earth has no monazite like Bukit Merah or the rate of disintegration of Mt Weld’s thorium will not pose danger to water table or Balok river etc. They rely on common sense: what Lynas says is also not credible as it has a financial interest. If it were so safe why not locate the plant in desert of larger Australia since it says it has got approval? If got approval why did Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Norman Moore, assert that “Australia does not support the import and storage of other countries’ radioactive waste”?

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 3 March 2012 - 8:52 pm

    Many Malaysians also don’t believe “experts” (esp local but including foreign) Who cannot be “Kow timmed” “ala I help you you help me”? We have learned from hard experience to be skeptical whenever financial motive is present. Many don’t believe govt medical experts in TBH case; they don’t believe 1 Malaysia or 1Malaysia stores : why would what they believe Govt’ assurances of about public safety in Lynas? Also the skepticism is about human nature and selfish greed that spins facts for its own ends. Besides there is a patriotic element here – the feeling is, the Aussie corporation is trying to justify dumping here what they don’t want or cannot do so in their own shores and they are facilitated in this by an earlier pact with the govt of which the people are not consulted and that many people do not trust! It is if outsiders are trying to patronize our naïveté and take advantage of own authorities whose priority is perceived profit than public interest and safety as evinced from their record in other areas over time. In that sense nothing will placate detractors unless (rational or not) our VIPs agree to prove by living and staying next to such a plant!

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Saturday, 3 March 2012 - 10:41 pm

    /In that sense nothing will placate detractors unless (rational or not) our VIPs agree to prove by living and staying next to such a plant!/ – cheers jeffrey

    How about we start with the authorities who approved and regulate Lynas’s work and permit.I think those thugs that distrupted anti-Lynas campaign will also like to spend some good time with their respective masters near the plant to work things out in future to create all sort of mother chaos for the whole nation.Anti-Lynas!

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 3 March 2012 - 11:51 pm

    Repackage the waste as ‘sand’ and sell it to Singapore?

  7. #7 by rockdaboat on Sunday, 4 March 2012 - 12:13 am

    Store the waste in the houses of the BN ministers and see how safe they are.

  8. #8 by Cinapek on Sunday, 4 March 2012 - 12:27 am

    It would be a very foolhardy thing to believe Najib’s words. Every time he makes a promise, I am reminded of his stadium promises for the Bersih2 rally.

    Watching this Lynas development, I am reminded of a forum held in Singapore in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. The program was telecast live on Singapore TV. The topic was about the building of nuclear plants to generate power in the Asean region. The panelists were nuclear energy experts from most of the Asean nations and Malaysia was represented by this Malay lady scientist whose name I cannot remember. When the forum moderator asked the Indonesian panelist if Indonesia would build nuclear energy plants, his answer was an emphatic no. When asked further whether his negative answer was because Indonesia suffers from earthquakes, his surprising answer was also no. Finally he explained the real reason is because Indonesia has no confidence in the commitment and discipline of the Indonesia workers that will be manning the plants. His words were “if we cannot even run buses on schedule, can we trust them with nuclear plants?” Surprising the Malaysian panelist agrees with this view!!

    The moral of the story is it matters little if the waste from the Lynas plant is safe or not. If the people running the plant lacks discipline, we can see a nuclear catastrophe happening or some of the process are compromised and the waste discharged are rendered unsafe.

  9. #9 by k1980 on Sunday, 4 March 2012 - 9:52 am

    //Najib did an about-turn and said that Lynas will be asked to store/bury the waste away from the local communities in Kuantan.//

    Our great angkasawan will take all the radioactive waste and store it on the moon. Problem is that our great angkasawan has no spaceship, and even if he does, he can’t for his useless life pilot it.

  10. #10 by SENGLANG on Sunday, 4 March 2012 - 10:20 am

    We have to understand that Lynas will not spent millions on the close to 100% completed plant with assurance from the Pahang state government. The deal is closed how they want to lies to the people.

    Lynas is a big corporation and they will not simply though money here and get booted out.

    The way BN geting done is simple. They will sign the agreement and talk later. Die mean not their money it was tax payers moneys. They will pocket their portion and that the game.

    Look at how we have PKFZ despite many disclosure of the loop side agreement. It was simply day light robbery as simple as that.

    Make not mistake Lynas is here to stay and waste also here to stay. There no way Australia will take the waste it is also no way the agreement say Lynas is to have the wast processed outside the country.

    BN have been telling a lot of lies without their face changed.

  11. #11 by mm08 on Sunday, 4 March 2012 - 10:26 pm

    Ask our dear PM to move and stay near the Lynas plant if he thinks it is save! He risks the people’s health and damage our environment for money! we do not need this kind of PM. We need a new team to lead our country, clean up the mess and bring our country to a great heights!

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