Najib tells Guan Eng, 2 PH MPs to quit over Lynas issue

Former prime minister Najib Razak addresses the Papar Umno division delegates’ meeting at Kinarut, near Kota Kinabalu, today.

KOTA KINABALU: Najib Razak has told three Pakatan Harapan MPs, including Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, to resign for allegedly lying to the people over the Lynas issue.

The former prime minister slammed Lim, whom he called a “menteri kewayangan” (minister of theatrics), for likening the Australian rare earths production plant at Gebeng in Kuantan, Pahang, to a nuclear plant.

He named DAP’s Bentong MP Wong Tack and PKR’s Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh as the other two who should vacate their seats after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad indicated that Lynas’ licence would be renewed. The trio are vocal critics of Lynas’ operations.

“How is it similar to a nuclear plant? This is not supported by facts. And the Bentong MP rolled over on the ground to show his protest … and Fuziah won in the election because of the Lynas issue,” Najib said.

But now, Mahathir has allowed Lynas to continue to process the waste and be disposed of in Malaysia, he claimed.

“I want to ask Guan Eng, this menteri kewayangan, Fuziah and Wong Tack – where are your principles and your dignity? If you had any, you should resign.

“Or at least apologise because you have lied to Malaysians,” Najib said before launching the Papar Umno division delegates’ meeting at Kinarut, near here, today.

Previously, during 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 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.

Najib also took another jab at Lim over the Penang undersea tunnel project. “I went to Penang but I couldn’t find any tunnel … RM305 million has been paid but still there is no tunnel,” he said.

He criticised the PH government’s development policies in Sabah. For example, he said he started the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah and Sarawak when he was prime minister, adding that the project had been scheduled for completion by 2021.

However, the project delivery partner (PDP) concept was cancelled by PH.

“This will result in 200 Sabahan engineers losing their jobs, and we don’t even know when the project will be completed now.

“The contracts were opened for tender and not given to cronies,” he said.

Najib said he also previously granted RM1 billion each to Sabah and Sarawak to repair dilapidated schools but Lim had recently demanded that Sarawak settle its loans first before Putrajaya releases the funds to the state.

“And I also had given autonomy to Sabah. I ensured that 90% of the teachers in Sabah are Sabahans. I also made many Sabahans department heads, including at the federal level.

“I had planned to give more autonomy rights to the Sabah government but, of course, these had to follow the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he said.