By Aathi Shankar
Previously Pakatan Harapan (PH), especially the DAP, was dead against the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) project in Gebeng, Pahang.
That was when they were in the opposition, hence opposed anything that was Barisan Nasional (BN) to fish votes.
Today they are singing a different tune.
DAP’s Bentong MP Tuan Wong Tack and PKR’s Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh were the most vocal politicians to protest against Lynas project prior to the 14th General Election (GE14).
Wang Tack, if one can recall, even “guling-guling atas jalan” (rolled over the street) to register his disapproval against Lynas, demanding the government to remove the plant all together from Malaysian land.
Then opposition PH held protests all over the country making the demand.
The opposition representatives pointed out that the LAMP posed a real fiery threat to the environment and public health.
Unsuspecting Malaysians cheered the Pakatan’s “pro-environment” stance.
The LAMP has lighted up the people’s resolve to trigger a change to stop Lynas.
But then the voters didn’t know that Pakatan politicians were mere bogus environmentalists.
Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, who also joined the anti-Lynas campaign then, has recently announced that LAMP’s processed wastes, in other words, its environmental and health threats, can remain in Malaysia.
Lynas is expected to have its licence renewed.
Suddenly Pakatan coalition, particularly the DAP, has gone into a silent mode, maybe soon sleeping mode.
Where are all those champions of people’s rights?
One can’t blame the PH leaders though.
After all, isn’t it LAMP has been arguably among the largest investment projects in Malaysia.
That is why the PH government plans to extend Lynas’ operations an allow the Australian firm to make money at the expense of the environment and public health.
Money matters, not the people anymore.
MCA publicity bureau deputy chairman Leong Kim Soon rightly pointed that the DAP-led PH had lost its so-called positions and principles hollered prior to GE14.
Formerly, he said PH and DAP objected against the Lynas rare earth refinery accusing it as posing a threat to the security of the environment.
“Now that DAP has compromised its previous hardline position, going by its own standards, DAP is now sacrificing the next generation,” lambasted Kim Soon.
Eliminating Lynas from Malaysian earth was among Pakatan’s GE14 manifesto.
But didn’t PH declare that election manifesto was not a holy book that one must adhere to?
Thus PH shamelessly annuls its previous stance.
Speculations are rife that Mahathir’s government would allow the Aussie firm to build a permanent disposal facility (PDF) to store and treat the plant’s rare earth wastes.
Wang Tack and Fuziah, also a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, of course, are seen screaming against it.
It’s anyone’s guess that the duo could be feigning their anti-Lynas stance again while retaining their official positions.
Kim Soon said Wong Tack can only scream from the sidelines to do his level best to retain his official position. “He should be responsible.”
The MCA leader said the PH government had assumed that the environmental contamination concerns can be easily solved by the construction of a PDF.
If that was the case, he asked why then Australia with its enormous landmass, not building a rare earth processing plant within its own borders but chose a country less developed than Down Under?
“Why isn’t Australia prohibiting the return of any rare-earth wastes from their own Australian-owned company?” asked Kim Soon.
“It is a sad day for Malaysia when the PH government drops all principles just to make money and is implacable towards a loud objecting public opinion.”
The Lynas controversy reflects the French past nuke tests in the southern Pacific, claiming it to be safe.
Unimpressed New Zealanders have always protested against it and demanded the tests to be done in France.
“If it is safe, then test it in Paris” has always been the Kiwis logical retaliation.
The latest official Lynas policy adopted by Putrajaya reveals the true nature of PH politicians
Pre-GE14, they screamed and lambasted everything that was BN.
But today, they have made many U-turns to continue everything that was BN before – the cash aid welfare programme – BR1M, East Coast Rail Line (ECRL), Bandar Malaysia township and now Lynas, to mention a few.
But PH government has been good in one thing that BN didn’t embark on – selling national assets.
Those assets were accumulated by the previous BN capable government ably administered by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
But one by one the country’s assets are being banished to vanish.
So too are the country’s security and safety to the environment and public health, thanks to PH latest U-turn on Lynas’ LAMP.