I supported Lynas as I saw no threat in waste, says Najib

Najib Razak at the discourse at Umno auditorium at Dato Onn Tower in Kuala Lumpur tonight.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak said his administration had supported Lynas Malaysia as it did not see any threat in its operations.

Speaking at a discourse at Umno auditorium at Dato Onn Tower tonight, the former prime minister said he was worried about the rare earths producer’s low-level radioactive waste at the time.

“I thought if there was a way to bring the waste out (of the country), then that would be the best way and the rakyat would feel safe.

“Actually, there was no threat,” he added. “This was made into an issue by the opposition.

“That is why I am now demanding that they quit their posts because they lied to the rakyat, especially the Kuantan and Bentong MPs,” he said to applause, referring to PKR’s Fuziah Salleh and DAP’s Wong Tack respectively.

“These two ‘ekor’ need to quit their posts as MPs because they have lied to the rakyat.”

The Lynas plant in Gebeng has been the source of a dispute. A decision on whether the government will renew its operating licence is expected by Aug 15, ahead of the deadline on Sept 2.

On Monday, Reuters quoted two sources who said the government plans to extend Lynas’ licence although it could be for a shorter duration than the usual three years.

While on a visit to Japan last month, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said the government would allow Lynas to continue operations as Malaysia did not want to lose such a large investment. He also spoke of the growing world demand for rare earths.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) had campaigned strongly against the Lynas plant before GE14, with many claims made that the plant would be closed after a change of government.

Wong Tack and Fuziah were harsh critics of Lynas and its operations.

Najib said if the duo had any dignity left, they would resign.

“But I don’t think they have any dignity.”

He said PH as a whole has no dignity as well and that is why it feels it can do “U-turns and V-turns”.

Earlier, the Pekan MP and former Umno president claimed that Mahathir had wanted to reintroduce the goods and services tax (GST) when he was in Umno but the proposal was withdrawn at the last minute.

He said Mahathir was worried about the political implications of such a decision.

“But I saw that this was for the betterment of the country, the rakyat and the generations to come. That’s why I was brave enough to take the risk to implement GST, even though it was not a popular decision.

“Today, the rakyat admit that the GST regime was far better than the present sales and services tax (SST),” he added.

Najib also denied a claim that the BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid) scheme that he introduced made people lazy or that BR1M was the then government’s way of bribing people to vote for them.

He said the Pakatan Harapan government has continued with the programme, albeit under a different name, implying that they agreed that this scheme was beneficial to the people.