Lynas a recipe for disaster given our incompetence

8:06AM Dec 16, 2012
YOURSAY ‘Given that there is a real chance that the waste produced will be harmful, and coupled with an incompetent and corrupt government, the Lynas plant is a disaster waiting to happen.’Is the anti-Lynas movement being unreasonable?

your sayBlind Freddo: Thank you, Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj for a much welcomed and long overdue objective analysis of the ‘Lynas Affair’.

Thank you also for your honest assessment of the risks involved. There are two sentences that say it all: “The Malaysian authorities have either been very gullible, or not very competent. Or else they are on the take.”

Had they been more competent, then Lynas would never have been able to deceive them.

Pemerhati: This is an extremely well written and informative article. The tabulated comparison between the Australian and Malaysian requirements illustrates how careful the Australians are in ensuring that the radioactive particles from the waste material produced by the factory do not spread to all parts of the country.

The solid waste is sent back to the mine and the storage site is 34 miles from the nearest town in a desert and at least 15 feet above the water table. The waste water has to be dried in ponds and the solid residue then collected and sent back to the mine to be stored.

But in stark contrast, in Malaysia, the dangerous radioactive liquid effluent is allowed to flow in the water and this water could be consumed by humans and other life forms resulting in very serious health problems.

The fine radioactive particles in the solid waste, however much they are diluted, can enter the human body and cause serious damage. I agree that whoever approved the project is either extremely stupid or on the take.

Giudice: Given that there is a real chance that the waste produced will be harmful, and coupled with an incompetent and corrupt government, the Lynas plant is a disaster waiting to happen.

It is certainly enough to oppose the plant, especially when one also considers the ‘benefits’ the plant will bring.

Fair Mind: Does this mean that if you inhale or eat anything contaminated by the radioactive particles, it will start the free radical damage deep inside, untraceable and unrelenting?

Does it mean that not only Kuantan people and their descendants will live with something that doesn’t break down till many generations pass, but that people travelling through the area would also not escape the contamination?

Spirit of Malaya: I may not know much about this radioactive stuff but I do believe that one should let logic and common sense prevail when associating with risks, especially health risks.

The fact that Lynas had decided not to embark on the rare earth refining in Australia, citing costs as an excuse and was prepared to ship the raw material 4,000km to Malaysia to do it here, should arouse suspicion.

My take on this is simple – somebody in Pahang in particular and Malaysia in general had over-promised Lynas and now is damned to deliver regardless of the resistance from the people.

Bamboo: The only foolproof way to ensure a clean environment and our health is to make Lynas close shop. Lynas took advantage of some easily bought-off high officials in Malaysia and relocated their dirty business of rare earth processing here.

It is definitely enjoying cheaper operating costs in Malaysia because Lynas gets 12 years of tax break and its radioactive effluent can be discharged into the South China Sea.

The radioactive solid waste can be left exposed in the swampy area of Gebeng without good leak-proof insulating. Remember the Dutch company that pulled out of supplying the insulating resin because of poor quality construction of storage ponds? Malaysians are not stupid.

Swipenter: My conclusion is that Malaysian lives are cheap, much cheaper than Australian ones as far as Umno-BN and Lynas are concerned. Umnoputras don’t live near the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) but ordinary Malaysians do.

These local (Umno-BN) and foreign (Australian) neo-capitalists are only interested in profits. Now we know the reasons why Lynas is willing to ship the rare earth 4,000km from the mine and have Lamp built in Gebeng for the ore to be processed.

Happily Writing: Dr Jeyakumar, my hat off to you. I salute you for the facts and clarity of your article. MPs like you make us proud to be Malaysians.

We all know that Lynas is up to no good. There is no reason to come to Malaysia when there is Australia for them to operate. Lynas is bringing to Malaysia what Australia doesn’t want. Why should we want it?

Onyourtoes: Former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently said those who oppose Lynas are brainless. But does this brainless hypocrite really understand one-tenth of what is being said here?

Kim Quek: This is an informative and valuable input into the rare earth refinery issue by Dr Jeyakumar. This article deserves serious deliberation and further discourse. Lynas should certainly need to publicly respond to the various pertinent issues raised.

Evie: Thank you, Dr Jeyakumar for making the issue so clear. How about the public health specialists in the Health Ministry as well as the nuclear physicists in the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry?

What do they have to say to this well-researched article?

A Selangor Voter: Dr Jeyakumar, Malaysians must make sure that we return you to Parliament with a crushing defeat of BN in Sungai Siput. We need MPs like you – educated, dedicated and brave – to stand up for Malaysians of all races, creeds and backgrounds.

Let’s also defeat those ministers responsible for trying to hoodwink us and pushing the Lynas plant in Kuantan. I have businesses there and I go there often. The Australians really feel sorry for Malaysians on the Lynas issue, I can tell you.

FellowMalaysian: I am totally humbled by Dr Jeyakumar’s factual and comprehensive account on the deadly health hazards posed by the Lynas plant in Kuantan.

I may be wrong but I have not come across such a right-on-target and lucid account of the dangers Lynas’ activity will unleash on us all. If the TOL (temporary operating licence) given to Lynas does include total removal of residues and ores, then they would not have come all the way here to set up their plant in the first place.

So the next step is to comb through the TOL and make the four ministers responsible for this mess eat their own words.

Dr Spin: The radiological physics are well established and the potential risks of Lamp need to be understood. No one wants increased risks of leukemia and other illness from polluted air and water, even if these risks are “low”.

I have to agree that Malaysia is not ready for large scale low level radioactive storage and, as also pointed out, is certainly not ready for nuclear power. To suggest otherwise strains credibility. The reality checks are all around even with simple hazards which are not managed if understood at all.

The responses from Lamp and the Malaysian authorities compare very poorly with the serious and detailed work done by their counterparts in United Kingdom, Europe and Australia where detailed reports on management of radiological and hazardous emissions are available to the public.

Mahashitla: Dr Jeyakumar, you are the type of MP that the rakyat yearn to have more in Parliament. If our government had been more engaging with our MPs like Dr Jeyakumar, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and many others, including Himpunan Hijau, this sort of problem wouldn’t arise.

I believe it has more to do with greedy politicians. The government must change its stance to become more engaging, or else it will one day become irrelevant.

Taikohtai: If the good doctor says the Lynas plant is bad and dangerous, I am all for his recommendations. Lynas is to Malaysia as King Kong was to New York: unsuitable, dangerous, uncontrollable, out of place and there for the money.

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