Govt in a Lynas jam over Japanese financing, says Fuziah

Fuziah Salleh of PKR, who is MP for Kuantan, has been a vocal critic of the Lynas plant.

PETALING JAYA: Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh says Malaysia is in a jam over the Lynas issue as the main beneficiary of the processed rare earths is Japan, which has provided financing for the government in the form of Samurai Bonds.

In an open letter on the Lynas issue, Fuziah, a vocal critic of the plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, blamed the previous government’ for the borrowing from Japan, and for running up too many debts.

“I would like to state that Japan is the sole beneficiary of rare earth elements from Lynas. Would investors in Japan remain quiet if Lynas is unable to supply them?”

She said, such a situation would cripple Japanese downstream industries which depended on rare earth elements.

“Imagine the difficult situation we are in now.”

Fuziah, who heads Pahang PKR, has campaigned actively against the plant in the past while an opposition MP.

Her letter today came on a day when former prime minister Najib Razak called for her resignation and that of DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Bentong MP Wong Tack after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had indicated that Lynas’ licence would be renewed.

Lim and Wong have also been staunch critics of Lynas operations.

Fuziah said she still believed Lynas should not be allowed to operate and produce radioactive waste.

However, some Cabinet members, who were with Barisan Nasional when the opposition against Lynas began, continued to be “fooled by Lynas’s tricks”, she said. They only understood the issue from the perspective of the previous administration and did not understand the “real issue” with Lynas.

“They viewed this then as a political issue and this understanding persists. Plus, the Lynas issue is quite technical and difficult to understand, perhaps this is also why they fail to understand it.”

She advised the Cabinet members who “continued to be fooled by Lynas” against giving priority to investment profits ahead of the safety of the people.

Last month, while on a visit to Japan, Mahathir had said the government would allow Lynas to keep operating its plant as Malaysia did not want to lose such a large investment and also in view of the world demand for rare earths.

Yesterday, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the government would announce its decision on Lynas’ licence renewal status by Aug 15. The licence expires on Sept 2.