ABC Asia Pacific News: Anger over rare earths refinery

Last Updated: Fri, 20 May 2011 21:18:00 +1000

Australian mining company Lynas is facing a backlash in Malaysia over the construction of a plant to refine rare earths.

The plant’s main waste contains the radioactive element thorium linked to birth defects and leukaemia and the people of Kuantan say they do not want it in their backyard.

The local community and environmental groups have raised concerns over the management of radioactive waste from the refinery. [Australia Network]

The local community and environmental groups have raised concerns over the management of radioactive waste from the refinery. [Australia Network]

But Lynas says the waste is safe and the Malaysian government had given approval for the plant to go ahead.

Recently, the Malaysian government bowed to public pressure and announced an inquiry into the safety of the plant.

It has appointed an independent panel of international experts to review the health and safety aspects of the project and report their findings to the government.

Local people say they are determined to stop the plant regardless of what the investigation finds.

Kuantan’s federal member of parliament, Fuziah Salleh, has been instrumental in mounting the campaign to stop the refinery plant.

On May 20 she led community groups from Kuantan in a protest march against Lynas to the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

Ms Salleh is critical of what she says are lower environmental standards in Malaysia and double standards from Lynas.

“I’m very concerned that Lynas is taking advantage of the local laws and does not implement what it is supposed to implement in Australia, but rather use lower standards here in Malaysia,” she said.

“There has not been an industry, a refinery as large as Lynas outside China prior to this one.

“And that should have alerted our authorities to be more stringent, look into it more closely, to consult the public as well as to weigh the risk that this refinery will bring to the communities.”

According to Ms Salleh, the risk comes from the waste that will contain thorium left over once the rare earths are extracted.

Thorium occurs at low levels naturally in the environment but if ingested in food or water or inhaled through contaminated dust can increase the risk of cancer.

Refinery location
The city of Kuantan is located on Malaysia?s east coast about three hours from Kuala Lumpur. It is known for tourism and fishing.

In 2008, the government of Pahang State agreed to a plan to host the Lynas advanced materials plant.

The refinery is intended to supply a third of the world?s demand for rare earths, by processing concentrated ore shipped to Malaysia from the Mount Weld mine in Western Australia.

Rare earths are a group of elements used in high tech equipment including phones and computers, hybrid cars and missiles.

Lynas were reportedly attracted to Malaysia by the 12-year tax free holiday offered by the government to boost investment.

Lynas’s executive chairman, Nick Curtis, said Kuantan was chosen as the location for the plant to take advantage of skilled labour there.

“We move it (concentrate) to a location where there is an advantage for us which is an existing chemical park where we can get the chemicals, where there’s sufficient water, where there’s gas and cheap energy, where there’s good, skilled labour,” he said.

“And on the east coast of Malaysia there is good, skilled labour.”

But an engineer and advisor to the Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia, Gurmit Singh, believes Malaysia was chosen because of relaxed environmental laws.

“Why don’t they do the processing in Australia? Why send it to Malaysia? It is the perfect example of a polluting industry being exported to a developing country,” he said.

Local objections
The local community and environmental groups have raised concerns over the management of radioactive waste from the refinery.

They say the waste product thorium will affect fishing, tourism and public health.

The Anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas spokesperson, Vincent Jiam, said the community was not prepared to face the impacts the waste could have.

“The bigger impact is that the amount of waste, radioactive waste, that’s been permanently stored here, I feel that our people are not prepared to be committed to bear this burden,” he said.

But Lynas’s executive chairman Nick Curtis claims his company is the victim of a campaign of misinformation which has riled community fears.

“Now our job is to be very transparent to the community, give them the facts and encourage them to deal with those facts and think about the facts and know that the plant is safe.”

Mr Curtis said there is no discernible risk to the community of radiation exposure even for workers inside the plant.

“For somebody who works full-time in the concentrate plant at the end of the year they have had a radiation exposure less than if they’d had three X-rays during the year, so virtually nil and of no safety health hazard,” he said.

But an environmental engineer from Monash University, Dr Gavin Mudd, said one of the concerns about the Kuantan project was the lack of detail being provided by the company.

“There’s more than one waste stream that comes out of a process plant like a rare earths plant. So we need to have a full account of where all the inputs comes from and where all the waste goes and where the thorium sits in all of that,” Dr Mudd said.

“I think until we’ve got a full, transparent, public account of that then I think there are good reasons to have concerns.”

History repeated
Vincent Jiam operates a kindergarten in Kuantan and was so concerned about the refinery?s potential impact that he became chairman of the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas Group.

He said 20-years ago Mitsubishi chemicals was forced to shut its Asian Rare Earth plant in Bukit Merah near Penang because of thorium radiation.

A recent investigation by the New York Times newspaper found around Bukit Merah there was a higher level than normal of leukaemia and birth defects. The company continues to clean up the disaster.

Mr Jiam said he was concerned history would be repeated.

“In the past it was Asian Rare Earth and the after effects was actually very bad for our people,” he said.

But Lynas executive chairman Nick Curtis said the situation at Bukit Merah was different.

“Bukit Merah was a very different material with a very, very much higher level of radioactive materials in the residue material,” he said.

The $230 million plant is due to start operating in September.


Malaysian anti-Lynas campaign gains strength

Created: Fri, 13 May 2011 11:22:12 GMT+0800

AUDIO from Connect Asia

Protest against minerals processing plant

Created: Fri, 20 May 2011 11:22:12 GMT+0800

ABC Radio Australia: Msian protest outside Aust High Comm re Lynas

Updated May 20, 2011 21:15:20

Protestors have rallied outside the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur demanding that a rare earth processing plant be abandoned.

The plant being built in Malaysia by Australia’s Lynas Corporation will refine rare earth minerals from Western Australian iron ore. But the material contains the low level radioactive element thorium – and Malaysian activists say Australia should process it at home.

Correspondent: Zoe Daniel
Speaker: Rozaini Mohammed Rosli, spokeswoman for anti-rare earth Lynas refinery activists

DANIEL: The campaign against the Lynas plant seems to be gaining momentum. Activists who have been voicing their opposition in the media have now held a rally outside the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

Spokeswoman Rozaini Mohammed Rosli says they submitted a memorandum to the high commissioner explaining their concerns – and demanding that the plant be stopped.

ROZAINI: Being an Australian company, the people of Malaysia would like that company to shift, operating their own operations in Australia, and not come here and establish any operational factory or such.

DANIEL: The plant will process iron ore shipped from WA that contains the low level radioactive element thorium.
The lucrative rare earth minerals obtained will be used in high tech batteries, TVs, mobile phones and aviation technology.
Within two years, the plant is expected to meet a third of world demand for the materials outside China and will yield 1.7 billion dollars a year in exports.

But the activists say Malaysia doesn’t need it. The country is still cleaning up an old Mitsubishi Chemicals rare earth plant at Bukit Merah that contaminated the area and caused birth defects and leukaemia in the population.

Rozaini Mohammed Rosli says another plant is not worth the risk.

ROZAINI: We don’t have a guarantee for the safety of the people in the future.

DANIEL: Do you think it’s realistic that the Malaysian government will stop the plant from going ahead, when it’s at such an advanced stage?

ROZAINI: They have to be a responsible government. They have so far, declined to expose any kind of information to the people. They should have consulted the people before engaging, or even thinking of having such a plant in the country.

DANIEL: But do you realistically think you can stop it now?

ROZAINI: We will try our best.

DANIEL: Is there anything that the Lynas Group could do to alleviate your concerns?

ROZAINI: Yeah, they can just stop the plant from continuing.

DANIEL: But the Lynas plant is almost complete and should open before the end of the year. The company says it will be processing ore with radioactivity less than 20 times lower than the old plant that made people sick. In a statement though, Lynas Corporation says that it respects the community’s right to speak out about the plant and welcomes the appointment of an independent panel to study the project.


This Friday 20th May residents of Kuantan and other groups will hold a solidarity walk to the Australian High Commission in Malaysia against Lynas Pty Ltd. Australian environmental groups Friends of the Earth Australia and the Conservation Council of Western Australia are calling for the Rare Earth miner to stop construction of their Malaysian Advanced Materials Plant until all details about waste management from the facility are known.



Thursday May 19 2011

Lynas Must Reveal details of Malaysian Rare Earths Facility

This Friday 20th May residents of Kuantan and other groups will hold a solidarity walk to the Australian High Commission in Malaysia against Lynas Pty Ltd.

Australian environmental groups Friends of the Earth Australia and the Conservation Council of Western Australia are calling for the Rare Earth miner to stop construction of their Malaysian Advanced Materials Plant until all details about waste management from the facility are known.

Friends of the Earth spokesperson Natalie Lowrey said, “It is not good enough to leave local residents in the dark about the long term implication of how this facility will deal with its radioactive thorium and caustic waste products. We believe that the risks of this development could leave a toxic legacy for decades to come.”

Concerns are increasing in Malaysia over the construction of the rare earths processing facility at Kuantan. Four people were arrested opposing the development last weekend and over 1000 people demonstrated against the construction of the facility two weeks ago.

“Clearly the local residents are not happy at all about this development. It is clear that this problem is escalating, which in turn could threaten the viability of the project”, said Ms Lowrey

“We fear that the Malaysian Government may enforce harsh measures against protesters of which Lynas will be fully responsible.”

There are a number of issues that the company must answer including release of a full environmental assessment for the site.

“Lynas has not made this information publicly available before embarking on the construction of the Kuantan site which could indicate that they have something to hide” said Ms Lowrey.

Mia Pepper, nuclear free campaigner, Conservation Council of Western Australia said “There are a lot of un-answered questions about the plans for radioactive waste disposal from this project, the secrecy is unacceptable and the dangers to health are all too familiar.”

The Malaysian community is calling for the plant to be stopped, highlighting concerns regarding a similar Mitsubishi (Asian Rare Earth) plant located on the other side of the Malay Peninsula at Bukit Merah which closed in 1992 after years of sometimes violent demonstrations, several leukemia cases and a $100 million costly cleanup.
The rare earths project is also causing issues in Western Australia.

Ms Pepper said, “Radioactive thorium 232 will also be transported through Fremantle in hessian bags, the same method used by Magellan to transport lead which caused lead contamination outside shipping containers until Magellan was forced to shut down. It’s not good enough for WA and it’s not good enough for Malaysia.”

There will be 40 trucks a week transporting rare earths from Mount Weld to Fremantle; the rare earths will then be shipped to Kuantan in Malaysia for further processing.

For more information:

Natalie Lowrey, mining campaigner, Friends of the Earth Australia, +61 421 226 200,

Mia Pepper, nuclear free campaigner, Conservation Council of Western Australia, +61 415 380 808,

Pilihan raya kecil: PKR akan tanding wakili Pakatan di Batu Sapi

KUALA LUMPUR, 10 Okt — Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) akan menurunkan calonnya mewakili Pakatan Rakyat (PR) jika Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) memanggil pilihan raya kecil bagi kerusi Parlimen Batu Sapi di Sabah meskipun tiada wakil diletakkan dua tahun lalu.

Pilihan raya kecil bagi mengisi kekosongan Batu Sapi yang mempunyai 26,000 pengundi, yang terletak di sebelah timur Sabah, merupakan pilihan raya kecil yang ke-13 sejak 8 Mac 2008.

PR hanya memenangi satu daripada 25 kerusi Parlimen ditandingkan di Sabah pada 2008.

Pengarah Pilihan Raya PKR, Fuziah Salleh berkata, berdasarkan persetujuan PR kerusi itu diperuntukkan kepada parti itu tetapi tidak dapat meletakkan calon kerana sebab-sebab tertentu.

“Memang ia kerusi PKR, diperuntukkan kepada kami tetapi calon tidak dapat diletakkan.

“Oleh itu, PKR akan membuat persiapan untuk bertanding di Batu Sapi (apabila diadakan pilihan raya kecil nanti),” kata beliau kepada The Malaysian Insider.

Fuziah yang juga Ahli Parlimen Kuantan berkata, PR Sabah yang dijadual bermesyuarat hari ini dijangka menyentuh isu berkenaan.

“Kami sudah memberi fokus mengenai soal persediaan, dan mesyuarat Pakatan Sabah esok (hari ini) akan membincangkan persiapan,” katanya lagi.

Perkara tersebut juga dijangka akan disentuh pada mesyuarat PR pusat Rabu ini.

“Soal siapa yang akan bertanding, kami akan membincangkan dalam mesyuarat Pakatan Rabu ini,” kata Naib Presiden PAS Datuk Mahfuz Omar ketika dihubungi.

SPR akan mengadakan mesyuarat khas sebaik sahaja menerima notis kekosongan daripada Speaker Dewan Rakyat.

Kerusi itu kosong ekoran kematian Ahli Parlimen Datuk Ir Edmund Chong Ket Wah (kiri) akibat kemalangan jalan raya semalam.

Chong, 54, yang juga Bendahari Agung Parti Bersatu Sabah, meninggal dunia apabila motosikal yang ditunggangnya berlanggar dengan sebuah kereta di Jalan Sembulan-Tanjung Aru.

Pada pilihan raya umum lalu, Chong menewaskan calon Bebas Ching Kwong Wing dengan majoriti 3,708 undi. Chong memperoleh 9,479 undi manakala Ching mendapat 5,771 undi. Enam tahun lalu, beliau menang tanpa dicabar.

Kerusi Parlimen Batu Sapi mempunyai sekitar 26,000 pengundi dengan mengikut peratusan kaum, pengundi Melayu dianggarkan 32 peratus, Cina (38 peratus), India (0.5 peratus), Bumiputera Sabah (26 peratus), Bumiputera Sarawak (0.5 peratus) dan lain-lain (2.6 peratus).

Walaupun PKR tidak meletakkan calon di peringkat Parlimen, wakilnnya telah bersaing di kedua-dua kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri dalam bahagian Parlimen Batu Sapi pada 8 Mac 2008.

Di DUN Sekong, dengan jumlah pengundi 11,308 orang pada 8 Mac 2008, kerusi itu dimenangi oleh Datuk Shamsuddin Yahya dari BN dengan memperoleh 4,271 undi berbanding calon PKR Datuk Nahalan Damsal (2,082) manakala Mansor Mursalim (Bersekutu) (242).

Dalam pada itu, kerusi DUN Karamunting dengan 14,696 pengundi pula dimenangi oleh Peter Pang En Yin (BN) (5,171) yang mengatasi Sak Cheong Yu (Bebas) (1,455), Tan Shu Tee (PKR) (452) dan Chok Kon Tack (DAP) (1,809).

DUN Sekong mempunyai 38 peratus pengundi Melayu, Cina (18 peratus), India (0.5 peratus), Bumiputera Sabah (38 peratus), Bumiputera Sarawak (0.5 peratus) dan lain-lain (3.8 peratus).

Sementara Karamunting pula terdiri daripada 28 peratus pengundi Melayu, Cina (52 peratus), India (0.4 peratus), Bumiputera Sabah (17 peratus), Bumiputera Sarawak (0.7 peratus) dan lain-lain (1.7 peratus).

Kini BN memiliki 22 kerusi Parlimen selepas dua wakil rakyatnya dari Parti Maju Sabah bertindak sebagai anggota Bebas akhir 2008.

Henti raih simpati, tumpu perjuangan parti

SHAH ALAM – Penyelaras Pakatan Rakyat (PR), Datuk Zaid Ibrahim diminta berhenti meraih simpati luar dengan membuka kelemahan parti sebaliknya perlu menumpukan kepada perjuangan dan dasar parti yang diperjuangkan selama ini.

Pengarah Pilihan Raya Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Pusat, Fuziah Salleh berkata, Zaid perlu bertindak sebagai seorang pemimpin sekiranya menawarkan diri bertanding jawatan timbalan presiden dengan alasan yang kukuh. “Sekiranya beliau yakin dan menawarkan diri atas sebab-sebab kukuh serta dapat memberikan khidmat yang terbaik kepada parti, beliau sepatutnya mengambil pendekatan sebagai seorang pemimpin nombor dua. “Jangan buang masa dengan meraih simpati luar, ia bukan tindakan pemimpin yang berhasrat untuk jadi orang nombor dua dalam parti,” katanya, semalam.

Beliau yang juga Ahli Parlimen Kuantan memberitahu, Zaid perlu berjumpa pemimpin-pemimpin akar umbi dan mengenali ahli-ahli parti PKR supaya mereka boleh mendengar hasrat dan manifesto yang beliau mahukan dari parti “Jika beliau percaya diri beliau layak, kenal dulu ahli, berjumpa dengan mereka supaya dasar yang hendak dibawa itu dapat dijelaskan dan difahami oleh mereka. “Pemilihan PKR kali ini adalah hal dalaman dan umpama pertandingan persahabatan. Jika beliau mahu meraih kejayaan, ia harus dimulakan dari dalam parti dengan menunjukkan tingkah laku sebagai seorang pemimpin,” katanya.

Fuziah bagaimanapun enggan mengulas mengenai tindakan yang akan diambil oleh PKR berhubung kenyataan Zaid yang seolah-olah memburukkan dan menunjukkan dirinya berada pada kedudukan tidak selamat dalam parti itu. Ahli Parlimen Subang, Sivarasa Rasiah berkata, mana-mana pihak berhak mengeluarkan kenyataan akhbar asalkan ia munasabah dan tidak menjejaskan imej parti secara serius. “Jika kenyataan yang dikeluarkan itu menjejaskan imej parti, barulah tindakan tegas akan diambil.

Bagi saya, setakat ini kenyataan yang dikeluarkan oleh Datuk Zaid Ibrahim belum sampai ke tahap serius lagi. “Sehubungan itu, saya tidak risau kesan yang akan berlaku ke atas mana-mana calon yang bertanding kerana apa yang penting ialah meraikan amalan demokrasi dalam parti itu sendiri,” katanya.

Sivarasa memberitahu, rasa tidak selesa dengan sesetengah pihak yang lain bukanlah satu isu di dalam sesebuah parti politik dan ia adalah satu perkara yang normal.

20 peratus royalti minyak untuk Sarawak – Fuziah

Pengarah Pilihanraya Pusat PKR, Fuziah Salleh sekali lagi menegaskan bahawa royalti minyak sebanyak 20 peratus daripada keseluruhan pendapatan petroleum di Sarawak tetap akan diberikan kepada negeri itu jika Pakatan Rakyat berjaya menawan Sarawak pada pilihanraya negeri akan datang.

Menurutnya, royalti minyak sebanyak 20 peratus merupakan hak rakyat Sarawak yang selama ini gagal diperjuangkan oleh rejim BN pimpinan Taib Mahmud di Sarawak.

Ditanya bagaimana tuntutan itu dipenuhi pada pilihanraya negeri akan datang dalam keadaan kerajaan pusat masih dalam taklukan BN, beliau menegaskan dengan kata-kata berikut.

“Insya’Allah sekiranya kita berjaya menawan Sarawak pada pilihanraya negeri akan datang, kita tetap akan menuntut royalti 20 peratus itu untuk Sarawak walaupun ketika itu kerajaan pusat masih lagi diperintah oleh BN.

BN boleh sahaja menuntut perkara itu namun dalam tempoh mereka memerintah, mereka jelas tiada komitmen untuk itu dan pada masa yang sama pemimpin mereka lebih mementingkan kekayaan peribadi, keluarga dan kroni walaupun majoriti rakyat di Sarawak kekal dalam paras kemiskinan,” katanya ketika dihubungi KABAR.

KABAR ialah akhbar politik yang sebelum ini dikenali sebagai Konsep Era Pakatan.

Fuziah yang juga Ahli Parlimen Kuantan menjelaskan, walaupun rejim BN memerintah Sarawak hampir 50 tahun, rejim BN hanya menghargai Sarawak dalam bentuk pujian politik apabila Sarawak kerap dilabelkan oleh pimpinan BN sebagai Deposit tetap BN setiap kali menjelangnya pilihanraya.

Sehubungan itu, katanya, rakyat Sarawak wajar menolak BN pada pilihanraya akan datang dengan memberi peluang kepada PR untuk memerintah Sarawak seterusnya melaksanakan pelbagai program kebajikan bagi merakyatkan ekonomi Sarawak untuk rakyat Sarawak.

Beliau memberi contoh, bagaimana negeri Selangor yang baru dua tahun diperintah oleh PR berjaya merakyatkan ekonomi Selangor agar benar-benar dirasai oleh rakyatnya sendiri.

Pimpinan PKR dan PR ketika ini silih berganti ke Sarawak dalam gerak kerja pilihanraya bagi memastikan segala isu dan penerangan benar-benar sampai kepada rakyat di negeri terbesar di Malaysia itu.

Antara cabaran PR di Sarawak selain kurangnya laporan media berhubung program mereka, turut menjadi cabaran ialah bentuk muka bumi Sarawak yang luas dan jaringan jalan raya yang sukar untuk dikunjungi termasuklah di kawasan tertentu yang hanya boleh dikunjungi melalui bot dan helikopter.

UMNO leadership series: Kuantan

The UMNO Malays are elated to hear that Kuantan parliamentary seat will be given back to UMNO. Hooray for that. It is an open secret that at the 12th GE, the MCA incumbent, failed because Malay voters rejected him. The Chinese voters were not backing him fully either. They have their own domestic tsunami.

But I fear, their elation is a hollow one. Who in UMNO Kuantan can be offered as a serious candidate to win from Fauziah Salleh? Fuziah is the PKR MP. She is the second opposition figure to represent Kuantan area. In the 60s, two PSRM ADUNs represented Kuantan. What I am saying is, Kuantan has a tradition to go against the tide. Or go against the wind. Because Kuantan people are also pragmatic, they know a kite ascends highest when going against the wind, no along it. Having Fauziah Salleh as Kuantan’s current MP places Kuantan in the high profile league. It has also elevated Fauziah on a personal level. She is the PKR’s national elections director. Continue reading “UMNO leadership series: Kuantan”

Fuziah yakin menang Naib Presiden PKR

SHAH ALAM – Ahli Parlimen Kuantan, Fuziah Salleh yakin mempunyai peluang cerah untuk memenangi salah satu daripada jawatan Naib Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) yang dipertandingkan.

Beliau yang menawarkan diri untuk bertanding jawatan berkenaan berkata, Wanit:a PKR sudah bersedia dan komited memegang tanggungjawab yang lebih besar dalam parti untuk memperjuangkan hak rakyat.

:“Semua orang bertanding untuk menang. Saya yakin dengan segala keutamaan kepada parti, saya yakin menang kerana anggota kenal dan tahu khidmat saya.

:“Malahan, wanita PKR sentiasa bersedia dan telah menyiapkan diri lebih daripada 10 tahun untuk merebut peluang ini,” kata Pengarah Pilihan raya PKR itu.

Fuziah berkata, beliau akan memikul tanggungjawab mewakili sayap wanita dalam pertandingan merebut jawatan tertinggi parti itu.

“Sokongan wanita PKR amat padu dengan hanya menamakan saya untuk bertanding jawatan Naib Presiden ini.

“Sokongan sebulat suara ini dilakukan bagi merealisasikan cita-cita wanita PKR selama ini dan mengelakkan undi pecah,” katanya.

Fuziah yang juga bekas Ketua Wanita PKR adalah wanita pertama yang bertanding merebut kerusi Naib Presiden PKR itu juga akan bertanding jawatan Ketua Cabang Kuantan pada pemilihan tersebut.

Sementara itu Ketua Wanita PKR, Zuraida Kamaruddin berkata, wanita parti itu sebulat suara mencalonkan Fuziah Salleh mewakili sayap parti untuk bertanding jawatan Naib Presiden pada pemilihan kali ini.

Katanya, enam lagi pemimpin wanita akan bertanding merebut jawatan Majlis Pimpinan Pusat (MPP) PKR dan 40 orang lagi akan bertanding bagi jawatan tertinggi peringkat cabang.

“Mereka yang akan bertanding jawatan MPP ialah Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Bukit Lanjan, Elizabeth Wong, Felicia Ling, Hasnah Hashim, Salma Ismail, Siti Aishah Shaik Ismail dan Rozaini Mohd Rosli. “Manakala bagi jawatan di peringkat cabang, 10 orang wanita termasuk Ahli Parlimen Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar akan bertanding jawatan ketua cabang, manakala selebihnya lagi akan bertanding jawatan timbalan dan naib ketua cabang,” katanya.

Zuraidah yang juga Ahli Parlimen Ampang berkata, beliau akan mempertahankan jawatan yang disandangnya.

sumber: Sinar Harian

Wanita PKR seeks bigger party role

PETALING JAYA: Wanita PKR is seeking more top positions in the coming national party elections.Top on the list is PKR election director Fuziah Salleh, who is nominated to contest one of the four national vice-president posts — which had been tra­di­tionally dominated by men.The wing also wants Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong to contest the central committee as well as Petaling Jaya Utara division chief posts.

Women power: PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin (seated, second from left) posing with fellow Wanita leaders during a press conference at the party headquarters in Petaling Jaya yesterday. Among the leaders are Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong (standing, second from left) and PKR election director Fuziah Salleh (seated, second from right).

Wanita, Youth and division elections are scheduled from Sept 17 to Oct 3.

Wanita chief Zuraida Kama­ruddin said they were sending strong reminders to the grassroots to fulfil the party’s new constitution to ensure 30% female participation in decision-making positions.

“We also want Wanita to take on at least 10 division chief posts.

“Currently we have females heading six divisions namely Permatang Pauh (Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail), Lembah Pantai (Nurrul Izzah Anwar), Kuantan (Fuziah Salleh), Cheras (Felicia Ling), Seputeh (Karen Goh) and Gelang Patah (Dr Zaleha Mustafa).

“We hope the incumbent female division chiefs are returned unopposed.

“We are also eyeing to take on four more divisions namely Ampang, Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya Selatan and Petaling Jaya Utara,’’ she said.

The wing had endorsed Zu­­raida for the Ampang divison chief’s post.

Selangor deputy speaker Haniza Talha (Shah Alam), Batu Tiga assemblyman Rodziah Ismail (Petaling Jaya Selatan) and Wong (Petaling Jaya Utara) complete the list of the ten women endorsed to contest division chief positions.

On Wanita elections, Zuraida said they had decided there should be no contest for the top three positions.

“We want incumbent deputy Wanita chief Rodziah Ismail, and vice chiefs Haniza Talha and Noorsham Abu Samah to be returned unopposed.

“As the other deputy chief Zaleha Mustafa has decided to step down, we have nominated Rawang assemblyman Gan Pei Nei to replace her,’’ she said.

Zuraida said although they had lined-up the “preferred team,” members were free to nominate other candidates of their choice.

Source: The Star