PETALING JAYA: A PAS MP has urged Cabinet members to stop quarrelling over the Lynas issue and to instead work on finding a solution based on facts and scientific data.
Pendang MP Awang Hashim, who is a member of the parliamentary caucus on Lynas, said there is a need to look at the issue objectively, adding that he is neither for nor against the plant’s operations in Kuantan, Pahang.
“It is great that the government has set up this caucus because it provides a platform for all parties to discuss what is a very important issue. But in doing so, we do not want political sentiments to override scientific facts,” he told FMT.
The energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry recently said the government had formed a task force to facilitate the sending back of Lynas’ waste to Australia.
However, Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof said Putrajaya had yet to make any such decision. He added that Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin’s remark that Lynas needs to ship out its waste as a pre-condition for the renewal of its licence could be her personal opinion.
Awang said Lynas’ rare earth processing operations are related to many matters including politics, investments, health and the environment.
He said Lynas would cite empirical evidence to defend the safety of its operations in the form of reviews by local and international authorities such as the Department of Environment and the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency.
“If there are doubts over these reviews, the government can commission another review by local and international bodies, including universities, so that experts can present their findings to the Cabinet,” he said.
He added that members of the parliamentary caucus should visit the Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Kuantan and obtain a briefing.
Following this, he said, they should urge the Cabinet to commission an empirical study.
“Any decision should be made based on facts, whether the impacts are positive or negative. These need to be studied first.
“So let us keep calm, stop quarrelling, and avoid making hasty decisions. Let the facts be presented to the Cabinet so that it can make a decision.”
Lynas recently criticised the caucus members for not turning up for a briefing on its operations despite being invited to do so.
In a statement, it said all but one member had either declined or failed to respond to its invitations which were delivered by hand.
Lynas also previously said it had invited Yeo to the plant eight times without receiving a response.