Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh is questioning why the Pahang Environment Department (JAS) had ‘conspired’ with the Dept of Special Affairs (Jasa) in a closed door briefing this week, over the Lynas rare earth plant issue.
According to her, Thursday’s Pahang edition of Sinar Harian reported the closed door meeting between the two departments.
“Why does Jasa need to hold a closed door briefing” Jasa also did not allow some of those attending, as well as reporters present, to enter the RTM Auditorium (that day).
“Why is Jasa saying that the issue is sensitive and that there are parties trying to manipulate the facts?” said the MP (left) in an open letter to JAS Pahang director Ahmad Kamarul Najuib Che Ibrahim today.
Fuziah, who has been actively campaigning against the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, reminded Ahmad Kamarul that his duty was to inform the public of the facts and not ‘manipulate’ them.
“Why did the JAS director need to conspire with Jasa in a closed door meeting”
“Isn’t it the responsibility of the JAS director to inform the public of the truth and not be used as a political tool by the government, which only wants to distort the real facts?” she asked.
‘Manipulating public opinion’
The Kuantan MP said Ahmad Kamarul’s statement reported in the?Sinar Harian article “used facts to manipulate the public’s views, and this needs to be corrected”.
When he made a statement that “the Lynas plant is a chemical plant and not a radioactive plant”, this represents a ‘half truth’ that hides behind the facts.
“Why can’t the JAS director be frank about the real status of the Lynas plant?” she said.
Among the facts, said Fuziah, was that the Lynas ‘chemical plant’ would produce radioactive waste up levels of 6Bq|g.
“The science, technology and innovation (Mosti) minister himself admitted in Parliament on Nov 14 that the water leach purification (WLP) solid residue (produced by Lamp) is classified as radioactive,” she said.
The MP pointed out that the plant would generate over 60,000 metric tons of WLP as a by-product annually, yet Lynas has not formulated an acceptable long term waste disposal management plan for the radioactive waste.
“In fact, Lynas’ suggestions (on the disposal of the WLP) have been rejected at least three times by Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) officials,” she said.
Lack of DEIA worrying
Other worrying facts Fuziah cited included the ‘express approval’ of the preliminary environment impact assessment (EIA) by JAS Pahang, just three weeks after receiving the document on January 21, 2008.
JAS Pahang, she said, has also never demanded a detailed EIA (DEIA) from Lynas even though the department itself had indicated that Lynas’ activities – that resulted in radioactive waste – qualified as an activity requiring close attention and monitoring and hence should require a DEIA.
Residents are concerned that the RM700 million plant which is being constructed in Gebeng would become an environmental hazard as the rare-earth processing factory will produce radioactive waste as its byproduct.
Once completed, the plant will be the first such facility built outside China in the last 30 years.
It is expected to supply one third of the global demand outside China, for rare-earth.