The Lynas con - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, August 05, 2019
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | It would be a great
loss to Malaysia if misguided people prevent us from extracting and
using the high clean electrical capacities of rare earth. Just as the
lithium ion batteries in the cellular phones is not harmful even when we
carry them everywhere in our pockets and put them to our ears, the
mining and extracting of rare earth from Malaysian earth will not harm us in any way. – Mahathir Mohamad, 2012.
She cannot even spin with a straight face
does not matter what your position is on the Lynas issue. What matters
is the fact that the Harapan government’s u-turn on Lynas makes the
anti-Lynas activists look like a bunch of dodgy environmentalist who
duped the then Harapan base with propaganda. Keep in mind the
dodgy environmentalists were supported by mendacious politicians who
jumped on the bandwagon sloganeering and making promises that shutting
down Lynas would save Malaysia.
Back in 2012 at an anti-Lynas rally in Penang , the then Penang Chief Minister led a chant of, “Henti Lynas, Selamatkan Malaysia'
(Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia). Anwar Ibrahim, now PM designate, claimed
that if the then Pakatan Rakyat won Putrajaya, they would cancel the
Lynas project and defend all environmental and heritage issues. This
was seven years ago. Since then the anti-Lynas rhetoric leading up to
the historic May 9 win became more intense. Lynas was portrayed as an
existential threat to Malaysia.
Commentary around the issue hit the
usual Harapan talking points. The talking points revolved around,
corruption, an uncaring government and that the Umno regime was intent
on committing crimes environmental and otherwise on Malaysian citizens. While
Harapan’s manifesto may have been silent on the issue, is this an
excuse for allowing Lynas to continue its operations – even if such a
decision is “kicking the can down the road” – instead of keeping
promises made by politicians on the run up to May 9, which was supposed
to not only save Malaysia but save lives?
Wong Tack (above),
whose appeal was that he was more activist than politician, rode on the
anti-Lynas wave and become part of a coalition that overthrew the Najib
regime. The Lynas issue, which for so long we were told was an
existential threat to Malaysia, became a symbol of the radioactive
nature of Umno politics that seemed to be on the verge of being settled.
government’s backtracking on this particular issue is appalling. Before
the historic May 9th win, politicians from Harapan portrayed this issue
as one of life and death. The propaganda coming out from the then
Harapan opposition painted the Umno regime as culpable for all sorts of
imagined crimes if the “radioactive” Lynas by-products infected the
citizens of Malaysia.
Now we are told that even though the
situation is less than ideal, it is preferable to the status quo.
Preferable to the status quo? Before the election, stopping Lynas meant
saving lives. What changed?
DAP Youth deputy chief Chiong Yoke
Kong is on the ball when he demands that the minutes of the cabinet
meeting be made public and the stand of each cabinet minister on this
issue be revealed. Malaysians have a right to know, which cabinet member
does not want to save Malaysia, or was just playing Harapan supporters
for fools when he or she claimed that stopping Lynas meant saving lives
and saving Malaysia.
The cynic in me wonders if DAP youth already
knows the answer to their query and are confident that what is revealed
would cause them no fallout, but why question political motives for
transparency when it comes to this issue?
It gets even more
curious when you consider the comments of Deputy Minister in the Prime
Minister's Department Fuziah Salleh who somehow finds a way to blame former BN ministers for being "deceived" by Lynas but loses the courage to name these ministers.
long is Harapan going to blame the BN regime for their backtracking and
policy failures? The real question is how come these former BN
political operatives have more influence in the Harapan government than
Harapan political operatives?
And doesn't this demonstrate the
utter failure of Harapan political operatives in containing the
influence of former Umno/BN members who we were told would be controlled
when Harapan claimed the throne of Putrajaya.
Tack, wonders if there are dark secrets about the Lynas deal that people
don’t know off. Well, yes, there very well could be some dark deals or
maybe it is just business as usual for this government. What this
government has done is make Wong Tack the poster child of the boy who
said, “As the rakyat of Malaysia Baru, the people deserve to know the
reasons if we are forced to swallow Lynas' toxic radioactive wastes and
subject our children to so many risks,” which brings up a valid point.
the historic May 9th win, Harapan accused the Najib regime of allowing
the citizens of Malaysia to be exposed to hazardous materials for
profit. This appeal to emotion was the most virulent kind of anti-Lynas
propaganda that implied that the Najib regime was so uncaring, so
corrupt that the regime was willing to sell Tanah Melayu and poison
children for profit.
The question of Wong Tack’s resignation is a
legitimate one. I think Wong Tack should resign and run as an
independent, if he believes that there are dark, secrets behind this
deal and believes what he said of Lynas before the election.
all, if he continues in his role as a politician for Harapan, he would
just be carrying on the lies of a government that claimed that the Lynas
issue was one of life and death for the good people of Kuantan.
Unless, that view was complete bunkum? Unless all the pre-election
rhetoric demonizing Lynas and its supporters were part of a propaganda
campaign against the Najib regime, and Harapan had no intention of
shutting down Lynas. This explains the earlier views of the current grand poohbah.
Alternatively, maybe Harapan politicians knew that
Lynas was not an existential threat to Malaysia and as such, Lynas
should be allowed to continue because profit trumps whatever
expectations Harapan supporters have of their elected reps. This makes
the backtracking worse because in the Harapan dominated social media;
pro-Lynas advocates were shouted down and portrayed as stooges for Lynas
and the Najib regime. Pro-Lynas advocates have argued that
numerous false claims were made against the company and that there was a
concerted effort to spin evidence and facts against the company.
Harapan politicians used Lynas to gin up a base which not only gorged
on the 1MDB fiasco, but who had no problem believing that the Najib
regime would endanger the lives of children with radioactive waste for
When Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate
Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin says that “The Cabinet has taken note of
various viewpoints on this issue, and some people have varying views.
Therefore, this is the decision that has been reached” is complete horse
I get that there could be varying views on this issue,
but what is important is the views of the Harapan government that,
before their electoral win, claimed that by shutting down Lynas this
would save lives and Malaysia.