Pakatan: No point to Lynas PSC

Patrick Lee | March 20, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

A PSC investigating Lynas’ purported radiation will have no effect, with Pakatan MPs scoffing at its advent.

KUALA LUMPUR: A Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) investigating the Lynas rare earth plant near Kuantan will come to naught, opposition lawmakers said.

Pakatan Rakyat politicians said the government had no intention to scrap the controversial plant, hence it was pointless to form a PSC to study the plant’s safety standards.

They said this after opposition MPs marched out of the Dewan Rakyat, moments after a motion tabling the PSC was approved.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, Kuantan MP (PKR) Fuziah Salleh said: “It is my wish that the PSC is fair. I wish it was a platform to hear the concerns of the people in Kuantan, that it is able to understand the issue of safety.”

“…I wish the PSC was a channel (for Kuantan people) to come out with their anguish and concerns… But after we heard the winding-up by the minister (in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz), I have come to the conclusion that we cannot put our hope in the PSC,” she said.

Fuziah was also accompanied by a host of Pakatan MPs, including Kuala Selangor MP (PAS) Dzulkefly Ahmad, Batu MP (PKR) Tian Chua and Klang MP (DAP) Charles Santiago.

Earlier today, Nazri tabled a motion that would form a PSC to investigate public concerns on the controversial rare earth plant.

Chaired by Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin, the committee would study the plant’s safety standards, which was currently on-site at Gebeng, near Kuantan.

It would have three months to fulfil its objectives. Five BN, three Pakatan and one Independent MPs would sit in the committee.

However, during today’s debate on the matter, Pakatan MPs were unhappy with the PSC, which they claimed was flawed before it was even formed.

In one example, Kuala Krai MP (PAS) Hatta Ramli told the Dewan Rakyat that the PSC chairman previously hoped to “change the negative, baseless perception on Lynas and LAMP”.

Many BN MPs were also convinced that the plant was safe, and accused the opposition of politicking.

Nazri would later wind up the speech, before the motion was passed by an oral vote. Frustrated at supposedly being ignored, Pakatan lawmakers then walked out en masse.

They would later claim that the minister had no intention of answering their concerns.

General election looming

One of the issues they raised was that the PSC would not have the final say over Lynas.

According to a recent Bernama report, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said that the PSC would not decide on the fate of the project.

This irked Fuziah, who said: “At the end of the day, the PM can say whatever he wants, decide whatever he wants… It seems that they are determined to push it through.”

Chiming in, Santiago said that it did not make sense to form a PSC when 90% of the plant had already been constructed.

He also asked where the “radioactive material” would be disposed in Malaysia, after it was refined by the plant.

Another concern was the looming general election, speculated for a June date.

“The chances of Parliament to be dissolved by the end of May for June are very high… It cannot do justice, even if it (the PSC) comes out with report, (it will have no) mandate,” said Santiago.

Asked what Pakatan would do next, Dzulkfely said: “We will go against (Lynas)… with the power of the people to decide.”

Additionally, both PAS and PKR MPs present did not appear confident about sitting on the committee.

Previously, DAP boycotted the PSC, adding that the panel was a “sham”.

Lynas spokespersons claimed that the plant – and its operations – would not be harmful to the local Kuantan population; a claim shared by government MPs.

  1. #1 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 6:58 pm

    It’s like appointing idi Amin, Stalin and hitler to safeguard human rights. Or appointing CSL, jack the ripper and serial rapist to safeguard virgins.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 7:04 pm

    PR please don’t waste time on Lynas PSC but channel all energy to GE13 to win big.

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 8:08 pm

    It is clear from what Santiago and Dzulfely commented that the overarching objective of boycotting the Lynas PSC is political – ie to be in the position to leverage on Lynas controversy as an election issue in the election campaign running to GE expected around June, which Pakatan could not do so as effectively if its representatives were otherwise sitting on the PSC.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 9:19 pm

    PR must not help BN to legitimize Lynas through the PSC, lest being labeled as “abettor of evil doer”.

  5. #5 by cseng on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 9:55 pm

    No point to PSC the BN votes erosion on Lynas issue. What PSC if recomendations are not neccessary entertained? ask PM to investiagte enough la.. he has the final say.

    It is like general election date, can you PSC the election date when only PM has the final say, can you?

  6. #6 by Winston on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 10:07 pm

    “Many BN MPs were also convinced that the plant was safe, and accused the opposition of politicking.” – end of quote

    What can they do?
    The all have their ladle in the gravy train!!!
    Also, the whip is hanging over them!

  7. #7 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 10:10 pm

    So when will be the next demo on this Lynas controversy as well as for the cleaning up of the electoral roll,RCI on the ‘out of no where’ to be somewhere where now they have found their way in(through M project) to join rank with their newly-formed cousin,Sabahan?!!

    We are sick of all the undemocratic and unscrupulous news report that constantly being fed to us!!Enough!!!If still nothing being kept as promised to reform,then we should take to the street to initiate reform ourselves!

  8. #8 by Cinapek on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 - 11:59 pm

    With the strong resistance from West Malaysians and Australia having already declared it will not allow the waste to be shipped back to Australia, it seems highly likely the waste will be shipped to East Malaysia. The two BN controlled states and the vast sparsely populated hinterland would be a tempting prospect to ship the waste to.

  9. #9 by k1980 on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 7:36 am

    PR should make the following posters for the coming 13GE–

    1. “BN supports Lynas” with background of Hiroshima after being ‘kissed’ by Fat Boy

    2. Goh Chok Tong drinking a glass of NEWater but Jibby running away from a spoon of Lynas waste

  10. #10 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 8:09 am

    Caught the 7 am news on a local chinese radio station this morning. Unfortunately due to distraction I could not hear the news in full. But I thought I heard something about lynas investors saying that there can be no u-turn for the project because a lot of money has gone into it. That means the project will go on nonetheless. And that also means two hoots to the people. If this is true (of course it is, IMHO) then yeah lynas psc would be a complete waste of time. The final decision has already been written!


  11. #11 by SENGLANG on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 9:32 am

    I have say it many time, Lynas is here to stay no doubt about it. What the government doing now is to justify the stay and full operation will be on very soon.

    This is how BN government get thing done. Approve the project first and justify later.

    Can’t we see what happened in NFC, funding go first documents can come later.

    Lynas as I say it again, is not a simple investor and they are not stupid just through millions into the construction and get the boot.

    The tax payers and the residents around the area are the biggest losers.

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 9:54 am

    NFC explained that its directors snubbed PSC (on NFC) because the matter under probe is still pending in court (the SubJudice argument) – TheMalaysianInsider. On Lynas, Pahang residents have also filed a suit against AELB and two others on February 17. If NFCorp lawyers were correct that PSC (on NFC) is subjudice, wouldn’t PAC on Lynas be argued to be also subjudice? Both purport to probe a matter presently litigated in the courts – the difference is that in NFC’s case, it’s a criminal case initiated by govt, and in Lynas case, a civil one supported by civil society/opposition.

  13. #13 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 10:25 am

    ///One of the issues they raised was that the PSC would not have the final say over Lynas./// Opposition reps participate in PSCs on issues relating to NFC, electoral reform (Bersih’s concerns), on Integrity (relating to issuance if IC in Sabah/Project IC in 2007).The whole idea of civil society / opposition supporting PSCs in other cases – there are for eg. calls for PSC on Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 and 1 Care – is based on the need to institutionalize PSC (originating from Westminster of Parliamentary Democracy as practiced in other Common wealth) as Parliament check/balance against the Executive. That’s why PSC reports to Parliament not Ah Jib Gor. The question will arise how the Opposition could draw the line – how it could say it support this institution of PSC, if it could determine on its own which PSC to participate and support and which not to by boycott! To be coherent you have to come out with a rational differentia – what differentiates one from the other. If you say that from point of view of govt’ intentions PSC on Lynas is sham, then is PR saying that BN’s intentions on the rest (electoral reform/NFC or Project IC) are sincere, that they want to do something about these issues? Saying that the Lynas PSC would not have the final say over Lynas begs the question that none of the PSC on other issues participated by Opposition has final say. It is not the job of PSC to have final say. For the sake of politics – to use Lynas as campaign issue- is PR prepared to step back in its push to promote this institution of PSC (Parliamentary check & balance against executive) by introducing this element that its participation in a PSC depends on its assessment on each particular issue whether the PSC is a sham?

  14. #14 by k1980 on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 11:03 am

    Seramai 559 calon Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) tahun 2011 memperoleh gred cemerlang tertinggi (A+) bagi semua mata pelajaran yang diduduki, berbanding 403 pada tahun 2010.

    An excellent way to test the brains of these 559 ‘geniuses’ is to ask them if they agree with Jib that the radioactive waste from Lynas is ‘harmless’, as he claims.

    If they agree with Jib, then the SPM ought to be scrapped

  15. #15 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 2:12 pm

    I reproduce this article by stanley koh (posted in FMT):

    /// To understand today, we sometimes have to look back at yesterday. To understand why there is so much opposition to the Lynas rare earth plant, we have to look at the sad history of Bukit Merah New Village, just a few kilometres south of downtown Ipoh.

    Life changed forever for the mainly Hakka community of Bukit Merah after Asian Rare Earth Sdn Bhd (ARE) began operations there in July 1982 to extract yttrium, a rare earth, from monazite.

    Within a few years, the villagers began noticing physical defects in their newborns, and at least eight leukaemia cases were confirmed. Medical examinations on children in the area found that nearly 40% of them suffered from lymph node diseases, turbinate congestion and recurrent

    rhinitis. Seven of the leukaemia victims have since died.

    Equally heartrending is the parallel story of the villagers’ attempt to stop the ARE operations. It was a saga that ran for more than two decades, and it pitted the villagers, helped by various civic organisations, against big business and powerful state authorities. An exercise to decommission the ARE plant finally began in 2003, but the work to decontaminate the area is still going on and is estimated to cost RM300 million. The New York Times called it “the largest radiation cleanup yet in the rare earth industry”.

    ARE was a collaboration between Mitsubishi Chemical Industries Ltd (35%), Beh Minerals (35%), Lembaga Urusan dan Tabung Haji (20%) and several Bumiputera businessmen (10%). The company was incorporated in 1979.

    The Penang Consumer Association has compiled a chronology of events in the Bukit Merah tragedy to help us appreciate the tenacity of Malaysians who rose to act to protect their health and environment against a government that placed profit before the people’s welfare.

    Here are some highlights:


    Soon after it was incorporated, ARE seeks the advice of the Tun Ismail Research Centre of the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry about radioactive waste produced by processing monazite. It is decided that the waste, the property of the Perak state government, would be stored with a view to profiting from it as a source of nuclear energy.


    June: Residents of Parit, Perak, learn that the government has earmarked a nine-acre site in their vicinity as a storage dump for ARE’s radioactive waste. They protested against this and gained the support of political and social organisations. The government scraps the plan and begins to look for another dump site.

    July 11: ARE factory begins operations


    In November, residents of Papan, adjacent to Bukit Merah, find out that ARE is building trenches outside their town to store radioactive waste. The site was picked by the government.


    May 24: About 6,700 residents of Papan and nearby towns sign a protest letter and send it to the Prime Minister, the Perak Menteri Besar, the Health Minister, and the Science, Technology and Environment Minister.

    May 31: About 200 residents from Papan protest against the proposed waste dump. They block the road leading to the site.

    June 5: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the government has taken every precaution to ensure safety and that construction of the Papan dump will go ahead.

    June 18: About 300 Papan residents demonstrate for the second time against the proposed location of the dump.

    June 28: The Science, Technology and Environment Minister Stephen Yong states that the Papan dump is safe because it is being built according to stringent standards. He challenges critics to prove that the dump will be hazardous to health and the environment. Meanwhile, ARE is dumping thorium waste into an open field and a pond next to its factory.

    July 1: About 3,000 people, including women and children, hold a peaceful demonstration against the Papan dump.

    July 18: A Bukit Merah Action Committee is formed, comprising residents of Bukit Merah, Lahat, Menglembu and Taman Badri Shah, to support the Papan residents. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) sends a memorandum to the prime minister stating that radiation levels at the open field and pond next to the ARE factory are too high.

    Sept 19: Three experts from the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visit the Papan site at the invitation of the government. They declare the trenches there as unsafe.

    Oct 5: A British physicist and safety analyst, William Cannell, is invited by the Papan residents to visit the dump. He finds the engineering work to be “extremely shoddy”.

    Oct 21: An American expert, Edward Radford, is invited by the Papan residents to review the dump. He finds that the site is unsuitable for radioactive dumping and that the walls of the trenches were too thin and cracked in some parts.

    Nov 7: A Japanese industrial waste expert, Jun Ui, is invited by the Papan people to inspect the waste dump. He finds it unsuitable for storing hazardous waste.

    Nov 28: The Cabinet discusses reports submitted by two regulatory bodies. The report by the British National Radiological Protection Board said that residents would be safe only if certain conditions were observed by the Perak government and ARE. The second report by IAEA said the trenches did not meet required specifications.

    Dec 9: More than 1,500 residents in Papan stage a one-day hunger strike to protest against the government’s decision to go ahead with the plan to locate the dump in Papan. Bukit Merah residents bring in a Japanese radiation and genetics expert, Sadao Ichikawa, to measure radiation levels at the open field and pond next to the ARE factory. He finds the levels there dangerously high, the highest at 800 times above the permissible level.

    Dec 12: Acting prime minister Musa Hitam declares a personal interest in the Papan affair. He pays a visit to the dump.


    Jan 11: After a Cabinet meeting chaired by Musa Hitam, the government decides to relocate the proposed dump site to Mukim Belanja in the Kledang Range, about five kilometres from Papan and three kilometres from Menglembu.

    Feb 1: Eight residents on behalf of themselves and the Bukit Merah residents file an application in the Ipoh High Court to stop ARE from producing, storing and keeping radioactive waste in the vicinity of the village. The Atomic Energy Licensing Act of 1984 is enforced. It ensures that operators of nuclear installations (including the government) are held liable for nuclear damage. A five-member Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) is formed under the Act, with representatives from Puspati.

    Oct 14: Justice Anuar Zainal Abidin of the Ipoh High Court grants an injunction to the Bukit Merah residents to stop ARE from producing and storing radioactive waste until adequate safety measures are taken. More than 1,500 residents of Bukit Merah turn up at court to hear the decision.


    Sept 22: ARE claims it has spent more than RM2 million to upgrade safety measures (as required by the court) that follow IAEA standards. It invites an American atomic energy expert, EE Fowler (formerly with the IAEA), to visit the factory. Fowler states that radiation levels near ARE facilities have met ICRP standards and that the factory is safe for operation.

    Oct 5: About 3,000 residents in and around Bukit Merah stage a demonstration against ARE’s plan to keep radioactive waste in its permanent dump in the Kledang Range.

    Oct 28: Ichikawa, on his second trip to Bukit Merah, reveals that radiation around the ARE factory is still above the acceptable level. He is denied entry into the factory.

    Nov 16: A team from AELB checks out a few illegal thorium waste dump sites in Bukit Merah. It is assisted by ARE ex-contractor Ng Toong Foo, who had carried out the dumping. Readings at one dump are between 0.05-0.10 millirems/hour, above the maximum safety level of 0.057 millirems/hour set by the ICRP.

    Nov 26: Residents of Bukit Merah, Lahat, Taman Badri Shah, Menglembu, Papan, Falim and Guntong form the Perak Anti-Radioactive Committee (PARC).

    Dec 8: Minister Kasitah Gadam of the Prime Minister’s Department says that radiation levels at two illegal dumps in Bukit Merah checked by AELB are safe. He says that although the AELB found that the levels exceeded the normal radiation levels this does not pose a danger as such dumps are few in number.


    Feb 6 : Disregarding the High Court injunction to ARE to stop operations, the Malaysian AELB grants a licence to ARE to resume operations.

    April 10: Fourteen foreign experts invited by PARC to Bukit Merah are denied entry into ARE. At a forum held in Bukit Merah, these experts concur that ARE presents severe health hazards.

    April 12: About 10,000 people march through Bukit Merah in protest against the resumption of operations by ARE.

    May 24: Federal Reserve Unit police disperse about 300 people demonstrating near the ARE plant. More than 20, including three women, are injured in two clashes. ARE’s construction work for a road to the proposed permanent dump site in the Kledang Range is halted by residents.

    July 23: A Canadian doctor, Bernie Lau, is engaged by PARC to set up radon gas detectors outside ARE. He finds significant amounts of radon gas escaping from the plant.

    Sept 7: The hearing of the suit filed by Bukit Merah residents against ARE begins before Justice Peh Swee Chin in the Ipoh High Court. About 1,000 show up in court to give their support.

    Sept 11: Residents march from Bukit Merah to the Ipoh High Court for the last day of hearing. Their number in the court grounds swells to 3,000.

    Sept 18: Bukit Merah residents file contempt proceedings against ARE for breaking the injunction granted to them by the Ipoh High Court in 1985.

    Oct 27: More than 100 people are detained under the Internal Security Act. Among them are PARC officials. They are freed after two months.

    November : ARE starts building the permanent waste dump in the Kledang Range.


    Jan 25: The trial resumes.


    Feb 13: The trial comes to a close after 65 days of hearing stretched over 32 months.


    July 11: The people of Bukit Merah win their suit against ARE. The Ipoh High Court orders the shutdown of the ARE factory within 14 days.

    July 23: ARE files an appeal at the Supreme Court against the High Court order. Mitsubishi Chemicals in Japan tells PARC that ARE filed the appeal without the corporation’s consent.

    July 24: Following an ex parte application by ARE, the Lord President of the Supreme Court suspends the High Court order to ARE to stop operations.

    Aug 3: Over 2,000 people from Bukit Merah turn up at the Supreme Court to hear the appeal. However, the judges postpone the hearing to Aug 5 because of “pressure exerted by people picketing” outside the courtroom.

    Aug 5: The Supreme Court allows an application by ARE to suspend the High Court order. According to the judges, the closure would bring hardship to the company and its 183 workers.


    March 15: The scheduled hearing of the appeal filed by ARE at the Supreme Court is postponed.

    Dec 23: The Supreme Court says it overturned the High Court decision on two grounds. The court is of the opinion that ARE’s experts were more believable in the results of the radiation tests. Secondly, the judges say, the residents should have gone back to the AELB to ask that it revoke ARE’s licence, because AELB has the power to do so under the Atomic Energy Licensing Act. The Atomic Energy Licensing Act, however, does not have any provision for appeals by affected communities or the public for the revocation of a licence granted to a company.

    Despite the success of ARE in their appeal, the company later stops operations and begins cleaning up, due to public pressure both nationally and internationally.


    Jan 19: ARE announces the closure of its Bukit Merah plant.


    Nov 6: ARE, in a letter to the Consumer Association of Penang, says it has not begun the decommissioning and decontamination of the Bukit Merah plant. It says this will happen only when the Perak government and ARE finalise an agreement.


    A decommissioning and decontamination exercise begins.

    About seven years later, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad said “a small amount” of nuclear waste was buried in Perak.

    “In Malaysia,” he said, “we do have nuclear waste, which perhaps the public is not aware of. We had to bury the amang in Perak, deep in the ground. But the place is still not safe. Almost one square mile of that area is dangerous.”

    Following his remarks, The Star reported that 80,000 200-litre drums containing radioactive waste were being kept at the dump in the Kledang Range. The site is about 3km from Bukit Merah and Papan and about 15km from Ipoh. And the waste is thorium hydroxide, not amang.

    The Papan-Bukit Merah story is a tragedy of betrayal of leadership. It is about people in power losing their moral compass to the pull of profit.

    Will the Gebeng story be just as tragic? ///

    You say no problem, umno?

  16. #16 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 2:27 pm

    PR is ready to grab seats in and at around the Lynas plant area come GE13 provided the coalition does not help BN mitigate public fear of radioactive contamination through the PSC.

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 4:36 pm

    PR’s position to boycott PSC on Lynas may boomerang against it. It is a reason for BN to accuse PR of opportunistically politicizing the issue which requires a bipartisan approach. (Already Ah Jib Gor said this). PR’s argument is that the PSC is an attempt to whitewash the dangers from the rare earths refinery in Gebeng, Kuantan and for BN to legitimise Lynas. No doubt that is intent of BN. However you cannot argue of something that you cannot prove concretely – and you cannot prove because you have not even participated in PSC meeting tyhough you were invited on bipartisan basis. It is different story if you have attended and participated in Lynas PSC and then after that walk out with ‘proof’ of it being conducted a sham by reason of your investigations being stymied. Your argument that PSC is pointless because however way the PSC decides its powerless to stop the BN administration from proceeding based on what PM & DPM said. This is wrong argument. PSC is not to stop it. It reports to Parliament – not the Executive Govt. PSC job is to investigate and highlight/report to rakyat through Parliament and their reps. It is up to rakyat to make judgment (guided by PSC bipartisan investigation and report) to see what they will do to the government that does not heed what the PSC said. In boycotting you further put yourself in difficulty of trying to get PSC to look into matters in future of public importance because BN will ask why you prejudge and boybott trhe Lynas one. This is not to include the other difficulty of explaining why you attended past PSC and not this one and what is the differentiating factor on rational lines that makes past PSCs different from Lynas one!

  18. #18 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 6:56 pm

    Is there an implied assumption then that if PR’s representatives serve in Lynas PSC to study the LAMP plant’s safety standards, it means that PR cannot leverage on this Lynas issue for the campaign running to the coming GE? If so, I would question why that is so. For the Lynas controversy is wider than just the plant’s safety standards. Anyway independent of what the majority in the Lynas PSC determine, if PR rep serving in the PSC say, after investigation, that the safety standards are not met there is greater bullet to campaign against Lynas in the coming GE. However what happens if PR rep serving in the PSC determine independently after investigation that safety standards of the Plant are met? Is PR afraid then that it is without this Lynas fodder to campaign on for the coming GE? If so, again they will say PR is not interested in the truth –or the countervailing economic benefits to the country of having the plant- but only in preserving & reserving all latitude to politically exploit Lynas issue for GE, and that’s why you stay away from the PSC even when invited. It is an argument that PR just cannot win when it prejudges and opts out of the Lynas PSC right in the beginning!

  19. #19 by on cheng on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 8:37 pm

    see even Bukit Merah problem also cannot solved,
    This Kuantan rare earth, first in the world to be sited near urban area,!!
    Had our govt ppl had any good sense, the Lynas matter shud not start at all!!
    So all these PSC, are just pulling wool over your eyes!! Just waste time n money only, all Malaysia shud object this Lynas factory in urban area !

  20. #20 by on cheng on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 8:39 pm

    Rare earth plants in other countries are all in remote areas

  21. #21 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 8:46 pm

    DON’T waste time lah, main main masak saja

  22. #22 by monsterball on Thursday, 22 March 2012 - 2:53 am

    Money taken…cannot withdraw.
    Change the Govt and let new management do what Malaysians want.
    UMNO b will do whatever the want…and they want lots of money to buy up voters….besides top Govt. servants to support their evil plans to govern forever.

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