I said this many times before, politicians and political parties come and go but the disasters they helped to create do not go with them.
The International Trade and Industry Ministry has assured Malaysians that a rare earths plant and a petroleum refinery due to come on-line soon will not end disastrously as previous disasters that happened in the region.
“The Union Carbide (in India) and Asian Rare Earth (in Perak) incidents happened decades ago. The technology then is not as sophisticated as now. Our environmental regulations are more stringent than in the 70s.
“Don’t worry... there is no problem that will happen,” said its Deputy Minister Mukhriz Mahathir during Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He argued that Malaysia has strict environmental guidelines that must be complied with by all, including rare earths miner Lynas Corporation and the operators of the Rapid project in Pengerang, Johor.
“We will not allow them to continue with any project which contravenes the guidelines and affect the environment,” assured Mukhriz.
The approval process proves to be as uninspiring, not transparent and doubtful as Mukhriz's lame guarantee. The government gave Lynas a TOL despite not being able to comprehensively spell out the waste management procedure and process. Now, it is not clear if Lynas is going to use Gebeng as a permanent waste storage area or send their industrial waste back to Australia.
If the rare earth plant is completely safe, as claimed by Mukhriz, why didn't Lynas build a plant in Australia instead of transporting the raw material/ore all the way to Malaysia?
Mukhriz is not qualified to offer this guarantee. Is he offering us a guarantee on behalf of the BN government? Is he open to lawsuits should the situation proves otherwise?
Yes, technology has improved since the disaster of Asian Rare Earths plant in Perak but the same cannot be said about our work ethics, culture and mindset especially that of our enforcement officers.
If Lynas and Rapid are allowed to go ahead despite huge public outcry, the BN should be ready to tear apart their 'People's First" manifesto. If these projects are allowed to run without considering the potential risks and mental anguish of the people, this government deserves to be voted out!