By Arveent Kathirtchelvan

I am not even surprised anymore at how seemingly nobody is doing their due diligence in learning about Lynas before commenting on it. Since I have extensively covered this topic factually in Liberasi, let me take a different route in replying to Mr. Dennis Ignatius’s article titled ‘Lynas, a betrayal of trust’.

Unlike what Mr. Ignatius believes, the one who has betrayed his trust is not Dr. Mahathir but the very environment minister he deems to have undertaken sterling efforts.

The Three Stooges

Let me ask a simple question. If the cadre of YBs Wong Tack, Fuziah Salleh and Yeo Bee Yin are so adamant of the dangers of Lynas, why can’t they prove their claims? Let’s look at the checklist shall we? Until today, the three have made some pretty wild claims based on absolutely no solid evidence. Fuziah Salleh insists the groundwater near the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) is contaminated due to Lynas when the Executive Committee report makes no such claims and her own compatriot, Dr. Xavier Jayakumar’s ministry, admitted there is solid evidence to absolve Lynas of this blame.

Wong Tack keeps pouting and repeatedly insists that Lynas has broken Malaysian laws when the Executive Committee report has found the LAMP to be highly compliant to local laws and even shows proof of Lynas having the proper documentation to store their wastes. From his stance of closing the LAMP, Wong Tack has now backed down to insisting that strict conditions be placed on Lynas to remove their wastes. Again, we see no such recommendation in any audit reports thus far and the proper waste disposal method is permanent disposal, which Lynas is ready and willing to undertake.

Then we come to the most disappointing member of this trio, Yeo Bee Yin. UTP-educated on a Petronas Scholarship in Chemical Engineering, Cambridge-educated on a Gates Cambridge Scholarship in Advanced Chemical Engineering is YBM Yeo. I was initially so impressed with her that I thought she could do no wrong. Yet, months later, like a petulant child throwing tantrums when their proven to be wrong, YBM Yeo has insisted to go to Western Australia herself to meet with their government and attempt to convince them to import the LAMP wastes. Hilariously, the Western Australia government has doubled-down on their stance of not accepting any such waste, whilst stating it is up to YBM Yeo if she still wants to meet.

Additional Mistakes

But let me go further. Mr. Ignatius is painfully misled if he believes there is any nefarious undertones to situating the LAMP in Malaysia. It’s basic business. Things are cheaper in Malaysia compared to Australia. Simply the steel involved in building the LAMP costs many times more in Australia compared to Malaysia. This was the bargaining chip the former government used to bring in Lynas in exchange for upskilling our workforce, bring in more foreign direct investment and potentially build downstream industries dependent on Lynas products.

Moreover, the environmental regulation in Malaysia is more onerous, not less, compared to Australia and international standards. For example, placards indicating radioactivity is unnecessary for material below 10 Bq/g internationally. In Malaysia, this necessity kicks in at 1 Bq/g. On top of this, as proven throughout the years Lynas has operated in Malaysia, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the leading experts in the field, has successfully audited LAMP and found them compliant as well. When it comes to the LAMP, there has been no slack in monitoring.

On the use of Lynas wastes to produce soil conditioner, the Condisoil product has been proven to be safe to use and laboratory research has shown that certain plants (corn, kenaf and grass) grow better with Condisoil. The radioactive and supposedly dangerous metals in the Condisoil have been assessed by experts to be diluted enough to not be dangerous. This is part of the internationally accepted method of waste management called dilute and disperse, which is what Dr. Mahathir was probably alluding to when he suggested to “spread [the radioactive waste] around somewhere so as not to have concentrated radioactive material in one place”. It isn’t absurd or flippant, as Mr. Ignatius puts it, rather it is surprisingly erudite from the famously anti-nuclear Prime Minister. However, if not producing Condisoil, it is much easier and straightforward to simply store the Lynas waste material in permanent disposal facilities instead.

Finally, Mr. Ignatious, bereft of any useful ideas, throws a Hail Mary in linking Lynas with the horrific Asian Rare Earth incident in Bukit Merah. Time and again it has been pointed out by experts, most recently in the Executive Committee report mentioned earlier, that Lynas is not the same as ARE. Lynas is much more compliant, well-managed and stringently audited so there is no possibility of a ‘toxic legacy’ to be left by the plant.

All in all, Mr. Ignatius’s rant has been a tiring slog to get through. He, like other anti-Lynas mouthpieces, is deeply misled and does not understand the process, management and business of the LAMP to comment on how it is run. Moreover, he shows a deep lack of knowledge on waste management and radiation. Perhaps it’s his bias to favour Yeo Bee Yin. Perhaps not.

The Tea

If it was the former though, let me state it very clearly. The drama she, Wong Tack and Fuziah Salleh have orchestrated is a simple-minded attempt to gain political traction. How else would we explain this ridiculous video of YB Fuziah Salleh slandering Lynas of causing mutations (without any proof) or this video of our finance minister blatantly lying about Lynas being a nuclear power plant or YBM Yeo Bee Yin not visiting the LAMP after 9 invitations or the fact that Wong Tack has repeatedly made false assertions, which have been refuted by the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia here?

Look, facts are facts, and it blatantly obvious now that the Harapan machinery, particularly that of DAP, are propagating nonsense about Lynas for political clout. It is even clearer when they haven’t said a word about petroleum sludge or coal fly ash which are much more radioactive substances than Lynas wastes anyway. It is time we grow up and reject these lies being fed to us. And that is the tea, served piping hot.

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3 thoughts on “Spilling the Tea on Lynas

  1. You’ve got an ally in an old colleague of mine – Helen Ang, who has quite a thing against DAP

    “‘Exploding’ in Guan Eng’s face”
    https://helenang.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/exploding-in-guan-engs-face/

    Well, this is a relief of sorts from all the noise and thunder online over Mahathir;s unilateral appointment of Lateefah Koya as MACC chief, since Day 1 of Hari Raya, when usually there has been a truce of sorts on the furst two days of Hari Raya.

    Meanwhile, the economy flounders, whilst the proverbial “Neros” fiddle.
    Perhaps if you can somehow convince Mahathir himself that Malaysia would benefit economically by being the world’s first with a commercial Thorium-electric power plant, which will help boost Malaysia’s sluggish economy, he may decide to drop National Car 3.0 in favour of it and invest the funds in Thorium reactor development.

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  2. This short article by the CPB-ML, lamenting the state of nuclear energy development in Britain may interest you.
    “Nuclear disarray”
    https://www.cpbml.org.uk/news/nuclear-disarray
    One reason why I am outright anti-nuclear power is because major socialist countries or former socialist countries such as the Soviet Union, China and North Korea (whichever way you regard them today) have had and still have nuclear power generation facilities and China today is working on developing Thorium nuclear-electric generation and is also working on developing nuclear fusion, all to protect its energy security.
    Also, I support the right of small countries such as Iran and North Korea to develop nuclear weapons, which serve as a deterrent against large, heavily nuclear-armed imperialist powers such as the United States from invading them, even though they would probably be destroyed in an outright nuclear war with the United States but they could at least give the U.S. imperialists a bloody nose first, such as sending some of their aircraft carrier battle fleets the bottom of the sea before they are destroyed by the hail of U.S. nuclear in retaliation.
    If Iraq indeed had nuclear weapons, they most probably would not have been bombed and invaded with impunity.
    Thus, I regard the various pacifistic anti-nuclear proliferation NGOs as de-facto serving the interests of western imperialism, especially U.S. imperialism.
    If the U.S. and western imperialists want to tell other countries that they cannot have nuclear weapons or must disarm, then destroy their own nuclear weapons and stockpiles first.
    Until then, the western powers have no right to tell others – “Do as I say but don’t do as I do”.
    As for the CPB-ML, it was formed from one of the factions within the original CPGB, led by Reg Birch, which broke away due to disagreements over the CPGB’s alignment with the Soviet Union under Krushchev revisionism. The NCP led by Sid French broke away later over the CPGB’s turn away from the Soviet Union to a more Eurocommunist position.
    At first, the CBB-ML aligned with Mao’s China but following Albania under Enver Hoxha which split with China in 1977, the CPB-ML split with China and aligned with Albania. What’s now called the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (RCPB-ML), which was also aligned with Mao’s China also split from China and aligned with Albania at the time. However, both parties have now distanced themselves from Enver Hoxha’s Albania today, and now focus on Britain.
    On thing about the CPB-ML is that it retains its legacy from its CPGB days of being closely aligned with the working class, especially trade union struggles, though I cannot tell from its website whether it actually has close links to the working class today, nor whether the party has much influence in Britain’s body politic today, even though its founding leader Reg Birch was an engineer and a prominent member of an engineers union at the time.
    However, from its website it’s pretty obvious that the party takes a very strong British national-patriotic line in favour of Britain’s independence from foreign control.
    Also, amongst Britain’s far-left, it is one of the most vocal and active in calling for Britain to leave the EU.
    On the other hand, many British far-left parties, mostly Trotskyite, though including some newer Marxist-Leninist parties is that they began within the student movement, especially during the anti-Vietnam War protests and 1960s student radicalism, so their membership was or still is largely petty-bourgeois in nature.
    Before its split with China, the RCPB-ML was called the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) CPE-ML and an infamous Malaysian or Singaporean – Aravindran Balakrishnan (“Comrade Bala” or “Ara Balakrishnan”) was a leading member of the CPE-ML who was expelled for his disruptive activities and went on to found the Workers Institute of Marxism, Leninism, Mao Tse Tung Thought, based in Brixton.
    This guy was under some weird illusion that China would send its People’s Liberation Army to “liberate” Brixton..
    This guy ran what can be regarded as a kind of secular religious cult based upon the “theology” of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung thought.
    Hishamuddin Rais may be able to tell you something about this “Comrade Bala” guy, sine he fairly recently helped wean a Malaysian woman, Aisha Wahab, from his grip. Alternatively, there are more detailed accounts of his relationship with the CPE-ML on Marxists.org and his subsequent fall-out with and expulsion from them.
    Below is Wikipedia’s account of Aravindran Balakrishnan.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers%27_Institute_of_Marxism%E2%80%93Leninism%E2%80%93Mao_Zedong_Thought
    Thus, when you find a far-left group which takes a strong stand against nuclear power, you may want to analyse its majority class composition and orientation and that may tell you something about them, and you may find that generally speaking, if they are mostly comprised of petty bourgeois, they will be more likely to be anti-nuclear power, more strongly into into identity politics and so forth.
    Have you ever thought of writing an article such as – The Socialist Case of Nuclear Power, even though it may be premature within the current framework of capitalist society?

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