Free Malaysia Today – SMSL: Soi Lek has the scientific facts

Stephanie Sta Maria | March 22, 2012

Anti-Lynas groups claim that the MCA president has the scientific evidence that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak needs to stop Lynas’ operations.

KUALA LUMPUR: Anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) today claimed that it long furnished MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek with the scientific facts needed to stop the Lynas rare earth plant from operating.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak assured that the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Kuantan, would not be allowed to operate if scientific evidence proved that it would be harmful to the people and environment.

SMSL chairperson Tan Bun Teet told a media conference that he had met Chua in Kuantan last year and asked if the National Economic Council (NEC), of which Chua is a representative, had discussed the Lynas issue.

According to Tan, the former Labis MP admitted that the NEC had not been able to get hold of the necessary experts and instead recommended a fact finding tour to Baotou, China, before making a decision.

Baotou, a city in Inner Mongolia, had been touted as the world’s new rare earth capital and its mines hold 80% of China’s rare earths.

But the National Geographic reported last June that villagers near the area had been relocated after their water and crops became contaminated with mining wastes.

“I don’t think the Baotou tour took place,” Tan said. “But Chua told me to supply him with all the scientific evidence I had in the meantime.”

“I haven’t heard from him since then although I have constantly been sending reminders to his personal assistant regarding the matter. So Chua essentially has the evidence that Najib wants.”

Asked if SMSL would accept evidence that the LAMP was in fact safe, Tan smiled and replied that he would have nothing to say if the evidence pointed to that.

The All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), who was also present, said that while it welcomed Najib’s statement, it also hoped that he would keep to his word once the evidence was provided.

Letter to Najib

SMSL alongside 45 other NGOs also issued an open letter to Najib today appealing that his administration immediately cancel all Lynas’ operations in Malaysia.

The letter, which contained a detailed list of their specific concerns, once again highlighted the “serious construction problems of the LAMP”.

“We continue to receive confidential accounts of failed electrical wiring and installation, failed hydro tests where major tanks with structural cracks and leaks were detected, broken underground water pipes that need to be re-done and so forth.

“A large section of the plant has sunk. Many of these defects cannot be easily fixed or safely repaired (and) Lynas is believed to have glossed over the problem,” the statement read.

Tan confirmed that SMSL had the necessary evidence of these claims but declined to elaborate before the judicial review took place.

He however added that SMSL would have taken its campaign to all states in Peninsular Malaysia by the end of this month and would then head towards East Malaysia.

The Lynas controversy sparked off Malaysia’s largest environmental rally, Himpunan Hijau 2.0, last month with the second scheduled to take place on April 13.

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