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Najib convinced Lynas plant is safe

 | June 22, 2012

Based on scientific facts, there's no doubt about the safety of the plant, says the prime minister.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said he is convinced that the Lynas rare earth refinery plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, will be safe as research was done based on “scientific facts”.

“Based on scientific facts, there is nothing that can raise doubts as to the safety of the public or the environment,” Najib told reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting here.

He said the decision to allow Lynas to operate was done based on thorough research and urged voters to make an informed assessment on the issue instead of letting the opposition influence their judgment.

The opposition leads an ongoing campaign together with Gebeng residents to protest against the construction of the rare earth plant for fear of radiation leaks.

The Australian mining giant overcame its final major hurdle to obtain its temporary operating licence after a Parliamentary Select Committee said “scientific facts” assured that the controversial Kuantan plant is safe.

This came just four days after the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry dismissed an appeal against the facility by Gebeng residents.

The ministry instead imposed two safety conditions to allay residents’ fear. Lynas claimed it will have no problems meeting these conditions.

Residents said they will challenge the ministry’s decision in court after they labelled the conditions “flimsy” and will not “in anyway” assure them that they will be safe.

The PSC on Lynas was approved in the Dewan Rakyat in March amid opposition furore over the alleged lack of terms of reference and suspicion that the nine-man panel would be used to “whitewash” the issue.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders claimed the Najib government had already made up its mind on the issue, especially after he said the government will not be bound to the panel.

Najib, however, said the opposition was creating “imaginary fears” and pointed to the statement made by PAS lawmaker Dr Che Rosli, a nuclear scientist, who broke ranks with his colleagues when he said the plant was safe.

Tags: Lynas, Najib Tun Razak, Gebeng, radiation, PSC


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