Sheer arrogance!

Today marks another milestone of the growth of the civil society in Malaysia.

More than 20,000 are expected to attended a anti-lynas gathering in Kuantan.

i have written a few post on lynas, and have urged the authority to stop granting a license to Lynas to operate a rare earth plant in Malaysia.

The most simple logic being that if the country of origin where Lynas is incorporated, Australia, refuses to grant a license for such a factory, why should we allow it to operate on our soils?

Any man made project will have certain inherent danger, no matter how elaborate the safety features can be. Mother nature has power beyond our imaginations, and the tsunami in Japan which resulted in the Fukushima debacle is just one`of the recent most that comes to our mind.

Granted the radioactive level may not be as high as those of a nuclear plant, but we can never overlook the inherent danger of some thing which may go wrong. Not only can Mother Nature plays havoc , human errors which would be an inherent part of any human operation can also result in risks that may not be able to be contained, like the Chernobyl and Three Miles incidents.

Germany has declared that it will do away with nuclear plants. If a country which is renowned for its technical and scientific ingenuity has taken such a step, we as a developing country and not as technically advanced should take another look carefully as to whether we need to have such monsters in our country.

If it is for monetary reasons, we can always be more diligent to source for other forms of foreign investments, rather than a type which is so controversial and which has such inherent risks attached.

It is also politically stupid to insist on giving a operating license to Lynas, when it is clear that most people in the streets have voiced unease and opposition against such a move. It reminds of the arrogance that was present before 308, and which has contributed to the swing of hearts in Peninsular Malaysia in the last General Election.

But apparently the power that be has not learned its lessons. Arrogance is still everywhere, from the  MRT alignment to NFC fiasco, from the formulation of 1Care to the  granting of temporary license to the Rare earth Plant, it is still a case of “Big Brother Knows Best”.

Where is the spirit of ” People First”?

I dread to consider what will happen if Bn wins another term, when they have a cushion period before facing the electorate again. During the 2 to 3 years of cushion period after the next GE and before the 14th GE, many of the dreadful things can and probably will happen. ICare, Lynas, GST, more NFC type of projects, etc etc etc.

So, readers, please look at the big picture and use your vote wisely!

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Li Li Fa
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 17:05:00

    Lynas lies out of line with the aspiration of the people.

    While protests went on this morning in Kuantan by at least 15K people, like-minded protesters also showed their support throughout the country. These protests are clear indication to the government of the day to take heed of the desires of the people. Please learn from lessons throughout the world from Germany, Japan, Russia, China and even in Bukit Merah at our door step. The Australian government did not grant a permit for Lynas to operate on their own soil. But here, it is different. Why?

    The people are demanding their heart cries be heard and actions taken to stop Lynas. The authorities thought that it is going only to affect the small territory of Gebeng. Not only the soil is affected with radio active materials, but the environment (air and sea) too will be charged with radio active elements that can be transported across the land , nation and even across nations. Who then will take responsibility when this happens?

    Profiting from this Lynas investment at the expense of the health of the people and the environment of the country is surely the works of greedy, unthinking, cruel and arrogant perpetrators.

    Like

  2. Foo
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 17:31:11

    Doc,
    Sometimes I just cannot understand how our leaders think. Tell me what do we, Malaysians, get by allowing Lynas, a company denied license to operate at its home land?
    1. Jobs? How many and at what level?
    2. Transfer of technology? what tech are we talking about?
    3. FDI? Are we that DESPERATE we will accept ANYTHING?
    4. Why the tax holiday of 12 years?
    5. They will make billions and we will be left with millions tons of toxic waste?
    ARE WE OUT OF OUR MIND/

    Like

  3. colin tan
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 18:50:36

    Like minded Malaysians, let’s show the goverment what we desire through our
    VOTES !!!

    MALAYSIA BOLEH, LYNAS TAK BOLEH !!!!!

    Like

  4. Dr Hsu
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 20:18:17

    fOO,

    THese happen when the top people are out of touch with the aspirations of the common people.

    Sigh!

    Like

  5. BeWildered
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 00:34:11

    Power corrupts, absolute power lead to absolute corruption. The top guns in Malaysian government are UNTOUCHABLE, that is why they dare to do anything which bring them personal fortune. This is not just the current BN problem, the same can happen even if Pakatan take charge. The self check and self regulating mechanism had been destroyed in the governance system in Malaysia. However, when the existing medicine does not work, we have no choice and tray new medicine, or there is no hope to cure the sickness that is eating away the future of the country. Sometimes, we need to wonder how our country is going to function without corruption! Like an opium addict cannot survive without opium!

    Like

  6. Wave33
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 11:16:52

    Dear Doc,

    Actually UMNO knows by now, it is a bad bad move.
    “Nasi sudah jadi bubur”

    Now UMNO has to con their way through to maintain Lynas.
    Here are the possible reasons:

    1. The license was sold at xyz ringgit, already use the kickback to buy Birkin bags and diamond rings, so where got money to payback to cancel the license. Die die also must maintain Lynas or else no money to pay. Lu mahu license kena bayar, Malaysia Boleh!

    2. Lynas made a good deal with UMNO, profit sharing. Why cut off the income from Lynas, if they are passive income coming from Lynas to UMNO regularly. I suspect the same passive income also comes from PLUS.

    3. Lynas owner has the joker card, photos of some Mongolian women with someone of interest. The same joker card Singapore has used against us.

    Well, any sane person, will not want Lynas to be here. Money can make UMNO to go insane NOT sheer arrogance.

    Like

  7. Phua Kai Lit
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 14:26:58

    Dear Dr Hsu & blog readers

    Some things to think about:

    1. Bukit Merah rare earth plant was located inland. So it was harder for the hazardous wastes to be dispersed (by natural forces) all over the place. Lynas plant is located in a flood-prone area near Balok River and the South China Sea. In fact, the site was actually flooded during the last monsoon season ! One can imagine how floods would spread Lynas wastes stored “temporarily” onsite widely and out into the South China Sea

    2. Capacity of Lynas plant is TEN TIMES that of the Bukit Merah plant.
    A Mainland Chinese official said that producing one ton of rare earth elements creates 2,000 tons of mine tailings (which contain radioactive thorium).
    An enormous amount of wastes will be produced by the Lynas plant. When the temporary onsite storage facility is filled, where are the wastes going to go?

    I like this slogan “Malaysia bukan tong sampah Australia!”

    Like

  8. Phua Kai Lit
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 14:30:05

    I should mention that hazardous dusts (from improperly stored wastes) can also be dispersed by the wind.

    Like

  9. Phua Kai Lit
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 14:31:08

  10. CYC
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 21:11:57

    To all those dumb Gelakanians who read this blog, please ask THN and KTK stop making stupid statements which insults our intelligence.

    Like

  11. James
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 20:32:15

    All Readers

    It is easy to jump on the bandwagon and believe that this company is evil and will pollute Malyasia.

    The global authority on matters radioactive, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has, in the aftermath of Fukishima, approved the process by which the plant will operate. They are an independent organisation with an excellent reputation with nothing to gain other than opine on the project as they see it.

    Corruption cannot explain thier view. They say it is safe and 5 times less ‘radioactive’ than the maximum allowed levels. It is negligable and everyday activities expell more radiation.

    Please – dont allow the opposition’s mis-information garner your support. Many people are jumpping on the bandwagon to demonise Lynas etc. Dont let your good will and care for the environment be misplaced as this is a very safe plant.

    These rare earths are quinessential to energy saving light globes, wind turbines, electric and hybrid vehicles…

    Also, you couldnt be posting on this forum from your phone or computer without a plant like this producing rare earths – would you rather them produced in China (95% of the worlds rare earths are processed in china) where the environmental standards are much worse.

    It is a great indusrty which helps with renewable energies and high technology.

    Malaysia has been tough and rigorous in ensuring it meets the highest international standards.

    Let them get on with it – it has been examined very closely and due to efforts like yours will be monitored closely forever.

    Dont be anti development – or sell your phone, computer, ipod, disc drive, energy saving light globes….and the list goes on.

    We need to be realistic – it is great we are producing this in other countries than China – at least the environmental standards are kept accountable.

    Well done to the Malyasian governemnt for grasping this unique opportunity – it is very strategic in this day and age where these metals are in short-supply and essential to modern life that we have all come to expect and essential in ensuring it can continue.

    I imagine many will come to realise this in the years to come.

    Like

  12. Jong
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 00:36:13

    UMNO can send in their thugs and samsengs but they can never kill our spirit and our votes!

    How low can they go? The more they bully the people/rakyat to silence them, the more votes will go to the opposition whoever they are and YES it will be Anything/Anyone But UMNO – ABU!!!

    Like

  13. Li Li Fa
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 09:36:51

    This is how the words of the big brother ( ‘crushed bodies’) been carried out blindly by his followers.

    But I wonder which side of the line, the guardians of the law stand.

    We are still a lawful country, aren’t we?

    Like

  14. Dr Hsu
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 10:34:06

    James,

    Yes, our daily lifesyle does expose us to certain amout of radiation, and that is considered unavoidable. But radiation risk adds up, and when we already have a certain amout of eposure, we do not need to have more exposure risk and added risk from such a factory.

    The radiation level in this plant may be very low, so why can’t it be sited in an off shore island of Australia, or in an remote part of Australia where even in the event of a calamity greater than Fukushima incident, the radiation risks can be minimised? why do we Malaysians need to add radiation risk to ourselves when our lives already exposes us to certain amount of radiation?

    It is actually about choice. The Germans have made a choice. So have the Australians when they do not want the rare earth plant in their own backyard. Why can’t we Malaysians?

    I presume you are posting from Australia, so why not lobby for the plant to be sited there first, using all your development logic, before asking we Malaysians to do the same.

    Like

  15. Phua Kai Lit
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 14:16:42

    IAEA says Lynas should have a plan for long term management of the
    enormous amounts of wastes that will be produced.

    1. Where is this plan from Lynas??
    No plan, and they try to get around this by having AELB grant them
    a TOL (i.e. the gobbledygook “temporary operating license” term).

    2. And this Keystone Kops ruling regime in Malaysia is now getting 4 Ministries to come up with a dump site for long term storage of the radioactive (thorium and uranium) wastes ?
    This is incredible incompetence — approving a hazardous project without finding a solution to the problem first !

    3. And waht is the AELB doing by making a deal to accept 0.05% of revenues for
    “research on atomic energy”? You are supposed to regulate the industry, not make deals with them!
    Leave research on atomic energy to our scientists and physicists in the Malaysian universities!

    Phua Kai Lit (public health professor and Kuantan boy)

    Like

  16. anomie
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 15:04:54

    James,

    Yes, rare earth elements r essential to many current scientific developments. U r arguing well in term of the economic factors that would benefit the END-users.

    What about the affairs of the primary producer, as in the form of the workers in the extraction plant?

    Yes, someone has to do the dirty job of extracting & refinement these rare earth elements for them to be used in the industries.

    But, why must the lowest-end & highest risk job of extraction be done by the 3rd world countries?

    So, u r blind to the classification of the different beneficiaries that’s NOT so transparent, ie, the owner & the labour.

    Walla has a good takes on this at this link;
    http://crankshafted.blogspot.com/ – Lynas: Introspect Of Why

    The Jap & the Oz have all the world to gain & gained BIG.

    In term of export earning & other economic contributions to the M’sia economy, M’sia is at the lowest denomination, vis-a-vis the Jap & Oz. As usual, WE only get crumbs, while facing the highest risk & contributing the harddest efforts. We r also been squeezed by that 12yrs tax free pioneer status, which in effect further reduces the monetary benefit to the country.

    There is next to zero innovation in anything concerning rare earth elements that can be drawn from the Lynas Kuantan plant. While only 300+ M’sians r employed, mostly as paper-pushers, even though minority of them carries ‘impressive titles’. Be assure that these people would never be allowed to do any real technical works as they r freshies to the extraction process. None of these ‘scientists’ employed in Lynas Kuantan would have any chance to do any research. Neither would they be able to fully engaged into extracting procession optimization etc. They would ONLY be allowed to act like automaton, just to follow a set strict rules, from A-Z to start the process & in case of emergency, to press the STOP button. There will be foreign ‘advisors’ too to ‘monitor’ these ‘high-paid’ workers. So where’s the technical innovations for these people? Lynas would be treating these M’sians just like the Malawi counterparts whom they r exploiting now.

    U might argue that they should learn in time to perfect themselves. Then, why don’t Lynas introduce the latest & safest processing technology plant in Kuantan. Just think about the cutting of the corner in storage protections as mentioned in a NY Times article. In short Lynas Kuantan is simply a low-key extracting factory, pure & simple.

    Moreover, iff Lynas does engaging the latest & safest extraction technology, it don’t have to move this processing plant to kuantan at all. It can do it in Western Australian, right at Mt Weld!

    Perhaps, while sitting under the Oz sun, u should try to google some infos about the Lynas Malawi operation. Or just maybe, u r working now for Lynas at the ‘high-end’ job, so the success of Lynas Kuantan would be related to your current job security, knowing Lynas Kuantan is the key to the survival of the Lynas as a whole. Yes?????

    Like

  17. seasan
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 22:51:17

    Malaysia score another world first by having a rare earth plant in an urban centre !!

    Like

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