The fate of the parliamentary select committee (PSC), set up to resolve the controversies surrounding the Lynas Advanced Material Plant, is not for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to decide, reminded Kuantan PKR MP Fuziah Salleh.
“Here’s a fundamental flaw in the thinking and mindset of the ‘People First’ prime minister,” she hit out, in a statement yesterday.
Yesterday, Najib said that the PSC was a public relations exercise to allay public fears on the safety of the rare earth refinery scheduled to begin operations by the end of the third quarter this year, as well as on the health risks of the project based in Gebeng, Kuantan.
“Basically, Umno being in power for 54 years, had somehow conditioned the prime minister to constantly abuse the principle of the separation of powers.
“He needs to be reminded firstly, that Parliament is independent of the executive. The PSC is a parliamentary committee and from its name alone, connotes the fact that it’s the Parliament that should decide on its existence as well as on the terms of reference of its PSC,” Fuziah (right) insisted.
The cabinet, on Friday, gave the green light for the formation of the parliamentary panel following a nationwide protest last month where about 15,000 rallied in support of a Himpunan Hijau gathering in Kuantan, rejecting the Australia-based firm.
Another group, the Stop Lynas Coalition (SLC) then tried to mount a legal challenge to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) for awarding a temporary operating licence (TOL) to Lynas.
However the government has raised preliminary objections, on grounds that the opponents have yet to exhaust all other avenues to air their grouses. The matter will be heard on Tuesday.
Fuziah warned the prime minister and the cabinet to stop making decisions and announcements superseding Parliament in dictating the outcome of the PSC, in respect of the institution’s independence.
She added that using the PSC as a platform to engage the people in a “public relations exercise” continues to belittle the concerns of the residents in Kuantan on the plant’s safety.
“It’s nothing more than a cover up. On one hand,they are saying they are concerned but on the other, dismissing the people by not listening to what they want.
“The people in Kuantan and those living around the plant have repeated very clearly. They do not want Lynas in Gebeng and Lynas should not be anywhere in Malaysia for that matter,” said Fuziah, who has been in the forefront of objections to Lynas.
“If the government had truly put people first, they would have engaged with the public right from the beginning in 2007/2008 and the Kuantan people will not have to go through all the stress today,” she said.
Another nationwide protest
In a related matter, Himpunan Hijau’s steering committee member Clement Chin welcomed efforts by the Anything But Umno (ABU)-led Solidariti SeMalaysia Anti-Lynas Coalition in planning another nationwide protest on April 13.
ABU will be staging the protest to show proponents of the Lynas plant that the concerns over the rare earth refinery is not confined to Kuantan or the Malaysian Chinese community.
The rally will be held in every state on April 13 after Friday prayers, with Dataran Merdeka in Shah Alam, Selangor being the main venue. Other locations will be announced later.
“Their efforts will without a doubt create significant mileage in promoting and accelerating the build-up to Himpunan Hijau 3.0,” said Chin, in a statement.
“We hope more organisations or even individuals regardless of race, religion or political standing will all step forward to organise similar events or activities. We must know this is an issue (affecting) humanity,” he said.
Chin added that the protest will garner momentum for the upcoming Himpunan Hijau 3.0 rally, which will be discussed in detail by the steering committee today.
Earlier on, Himpunan Hijau 3.0 chairperson Wong Tack had said that the committee will proceed with another round of protests in the event raw material is shipped from Australia to the refinery or should the prime minister dissolve Parliament for the general election without resolving the matter.