Free Malaysia Today – New radiation scare: MPs demand info

Tarani Palani | June 16, 2011

The AELB is giving the Selangor government the ‘runaround’ on the contamination detected around Subang-Kelana Jaya area.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hot on the heels of the radiation fears from the rare earth plant in Lynas, opposition MPs today cried foul over another radioactive contamination detected around the Subang-Kelana Jaya area in Selangor.

Subang MP R Sivarasa raised their concern over the lack of information given out by the federal government so far over the incident.

“All the details that we have now is that it is a pharmaceutical company; there was a leak and it is now sealed,” he told a press conference today.

Sivarasa was commenting on a Bernama report yesterday which quoted Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Maximus Ongkili, as saying that the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) had detected radioactive contamination in a factory in Selangor.

“Why did the government withhold information on this radiation leak for almost two weeks?

“This incident came to light on June 2 when four workers from the factory were detected with high radiation levels after they had gone to the AELB office.

“However, it was only on June 15 that the minister released his short statement,” Sivarasa said.

In his statement, Ongkili said “the radiation reading on one of the workers exceeded more than 400 times the normal reading”.

He also said that the AELB found that the reading at the factory was more than 100 times the normal reading.

“It is absolutely necessary to allay the fears of the public… I demand that Ongkili immediately release the full information including the name, location and nature of business of the factory,” he said.

Poor handling

Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo Burne described the incident as “very disturbing”.

“The incident is cause for grave concern to whoever works and lives in the area.

“By merely passing by the factory, there is a chance that the radiation has spread to the public. This is very disturbing,” he said, adding that the government needs to provide more information on this matter.

Also present was Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, who is leading the fight against the construction of a radioactive rare-earth plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

“This government says that it puts the people first but it always acts otherwise,” Fuziah said.

“We need to know what kind of radiation this is and its life-span. Don’t just come out with the details; tells us also what corrective measures (have been taken to handle the situation),” she said.

When asked what the Selangor government was doing about the matter, Fuziah said that Selangor exco member Elizabeth Wong had tried to obtain more information on the matter from the AELB.

But Wong, who is in charge of Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment, was being given the runaround.

“Wong has been given the runaround. The AELB has refused to furnish her with the details. They keep asking her to refer to the ministry.

“How can the Selangor government take action (in this case)?” Fuziah asked, referring to a text message from Wong explaining her situation.

The MPs also criticised the federal government for not reassuring the public properly.

“If a problem of this small nature cannot be handled properly, can you imagine Lynas case, which is on a larger scale,” Fuziah said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *