Stephanie Sta Maria | September 8, 2011
Party using the rare earth plant issue to regain support in Kuantan, says Kuantan MP
PETALING JAYA: Kuantan MP, Fuziah Salleh, lambasted the MCA for its ulterior motive in setting up a National Committee on Rare Earth issues to address the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) controversy in Gebeng.
MCA deputy president Liow Tiong Lai, together with the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong) and seven other Chinese associations, recently made a joint announcement of the committee’s formation.
The group also promised that the committee would collect and convey the public’s views to the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, and the National Economic Action Council.
But Fuziah, who has relentlessly opposed LAMP, pointed out that the group has totally missed the real issues underlying the opposition to the plant as well as disregarded the public’s clear message.
“That message is stop Lynas, not supervise LAMP,” she said in a statement today. “By setting up this supervisory committee, MCA is trying to show that it is the champions of the rakyat. But it is making a fool of the rakyat’s intelligence and concerns.”
Lynas Corporation Ltd plans to build a RM700-million rare earth refinery in Gebeng, to facilitate transporting its mining products from Western Australia’s Mount Weld to the plant in Gebeng.
The plant is expected to be operational by end of this year. However, the community in Gebeng is up in arms against the project because of fears of radioactive contamination in the area surrounding the plant.
Fuziah also ticked off MCA for roping in only the Chinese associations despite the fact that Malay communities in Balok and Gebeng share the same concerns over LAMP.
“Are the lives and well-being of the Chinese community more important to the MCA than that of other communities?” she asked. “This reflects the typical BN chauvinistic thinking and a crude example of its divide-and-rule mindset.”
A ploy to deceive the rakyat
Fuziah reminded MCA that it was part of the decision-makers who awarded Lynas the licence to build the plant in early 2008.
She also recalled that two MCA assemblymen from Kuantan visited the mine site at Mount Weld, Australia, in 2009, and concluded that LAMP would be safe.
Fuziah, a PKR vice-president, asked why MCA did not champion public safety back then and only made a U-turn on its stand recently.
“Is it a political move to regain grounds and support in Kuantan?” she asked. “Is it a ploy by MCA to deceive the rakyat without actually standing up for what the rakyat truly want?”
“Does MCA have the guts to tell the government what the rakyat really want? Will Hua Zong dare to tell MCA that it isn’t good enough to ‘supervise’ when the rakyat has made a decision not to accept LAMP?”
Fuziah also called on MCA to stop its political theatrics and begin treating the people with sincerity.
Meanwhile, International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapha Mohamed yesterday said that he expects to receive an update on Lynas Malaysia’s progress in complying with the National Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) recommendations within the next few days.
“Lynas would only be given the nod once it fulfils all the recommendations,” he was reported as saying.