Monday, August 29, 2011

Stop Lynas till doubts are cleared: PAS Youth

(Harakah Daily) - Saying there are ample opinions from experts, PAS Youth has urged the government to halt the controversial Lynas Advanced Material Plant project in Gebeng, Pahang until questions over its safety can be put to rest.

Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi (right) said a time frame must be given so those competent in various related fields can suggest concrete actions with regards to the Australian-based company's decision to construct the rare-earth refinery.

“Not only nuclear experts, but also toxic experts, environmental experts, health experts, economic experts, legal experts and other relevant experts including political experts and independent international observers,” said Nasrudin.

The controversy took a twist following a statement by PAS's Hulu Langat member of parliament Che Rosli Che Mat, breaking ranks from official party stand by defending the project as safe.

Speaking on UMNO-controlled channel TV3, Che Rosli (left), who is a nuclear expert, claimed that the opposition to the plant was “unscientific and not at all academic”, and criticised PKR's Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, party organ Harakah and others over their different stance.

In response, Pahang PAS commissioner Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said while the party respected Che Rosli’s view, the Islamic party chose to stand with the public in urging Lynas to stop its hazardous plant.

“It (Che Rosli's view) should not be a problem to the party, in fact the party welcomes differences of opinion in line with democractic practice.

“For PAS, the people comes first in this issue. Concerns over risks faced by the people due to the Lynas project, especially to residents of Kuantan, cannot be brushed aside. The rakyat have the biggest right and they must be heard," he said.

Tuan Ibrahim, who is also PAS's information chief, said Che Rosli would be invited to explain his criticism of the party's information department.

He added that the project would not bring any significant benefit other than creating a handful of jobs, which he said was negligible compared to the huge risks involved.

'Where have the experts gone?'

According to Tuan Ibrahim, it was normal for experts to always claim that there was "no danger under normal circumstances", even in the case of a nuclear plant.

“Residents in Gebeng and Kuantan still remember the rare earth project in Bukit Merah in 1980s. When it was approved, it was also claimed to be safe and not hazardous for humans and the environment.

"Then, when it was proven hazardous, where did all the experts who gave their opinions go? In the end, the ones suffering are the residents around the plant, in fact its toxic wastes until today have yet to be dealt properly,” said Tuan Ibrahim.

In 1992, the High Court ordered a rare-earth plant run by Mitsubishi in Bukit Merah to be shut down following cases of still-born and abnormal babies attributed to radioactive exposure.

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