Why bother visiting Lynas plant, Wong Tack hits back

The Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Gebeng, Kuantan. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The chairman of a parliamentary caucus to monitor Lynas Malaysia’s operations in Pahang has defended the no-show by his colleagues for a briefing on the plant’s operation, saying there was no need for them to do so.

DAP’s Wong Tack said there was no need for the caucus members to visit the plant in Gebeng to “know” that Lynas was allowed by the Department of Environment and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board to “store over a million tonnes of hazardous waste”.

The Bentong MP said there was no need to visit the plant to question how the radioactive contaminated waste generated can be accurately quantified from the way it is stored.

Wong Tack also said there was no need to visit the plant when Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had himself said he did not want the Bukit Merah tragedy to be repeated.

He was referring to the incident in the early 1990s where Malaysia lost one sq km of land in Perak to bury the waste — from the Asian Rare Earth plant in Ipoh, Perak — “under thick cement to prevent radiation from affecting people” and that area was still not safe.

“I wish to state that I applaud my caucus colleagues’ stance not to dance to Lynas’ tune or entertain their drama,” he said in a statement, adding that he had visited the plant in 2018.

Wong Tack.

Two days ago, Lynas had hit out at the caucus for failing to turn up for a briefing on its operations despite being invited to do so.

The company’s managing director Mashal Ahmad said to date all, except one member of the caucus, had either declined or not responded to their hand-delivered invitations.

Wong Tack went on to hit out at Lynas for taking the caucus to task over its decision to turn down the invitation by the rare earths company.

“The statement was obviously intended to tarnish the credibility and reputation of the caucus members.”

He went on to lament that there were ministers who were ignorant and supportive of wrongdoings, as well as regulators who have failed in their duties to enforce the laws.

“However, I also know that the majority of my colleagues in Parliament, from both sides of the political divide, are standing firm with the rakyat on the Lynas issue.”

Yesterday, Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof said the government would never compromise on the safety and health of the people.

“Prove that Lynas is unsafe, and the government will shut it down,” he said.

He said the government’s high-level review committee, comprising highly qualified experts, had certified the safety of Lynas’ operations.