A few nagging questions cropped up when I read an online news report about the Pakatan leadership’s latest position on the Lynas rare earth refinery.
This is an excerpt of a report in Malaysiakini.
Anwar had recently told Sydney Morning Herald that a Pakatan administration would keep the plant shut until a new inquiry proves that it is safe.
“If Lynas can come out with a convincing argument that there is no risk to the people’s safety and security, I will be the first to champion the plant there,” said Anwar.
A year ago, Anwar had vowed that Pakatan would shut down the plant should the coalition take over Putrajaya.
Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Lynas should be given a fair chance to explain themselves before a new government shuts its plant down.
“We must give a show cause letter (before closing down Lynas). But in the letter, we will ask them (Lynas) why shouldn’t you be closed down?”
However, based on the current evidence, Lim said that Lynas’ operations should be suspended.
What do you think?
Some months ago, I asked a prominent PKR elected rep repeatedly about the Pakatan leaders’ stand on Lynas. I was told in no uncertain terms that the Pakatan leadership would definitely shut down the plant if it captured power in Putrajaya. This exchange was even recorded on Twitter. The PKR rep even sounded irritated with me for asking the question as their stand on shutting down the plant had been made known to the public earlier many times.
Why did I ask the question repeatedly – and openly on Twitter? Because I know that once parties are in power they may be tempted to back-track on their position given the powerful, influential nature of MNCs and large local corporations (which tend to play both sides of the political divide) and certain politicians’ pro-business mentality even when it conflicts with public interest.
This reminds me of how property developers are given ‘stop work orders’ that amount to little more than a slap on the wrist (temporary shutdown), before operations resume as usual once the public uproar has subsided. Often, the developers have already factored in the costs of such stop work orders in the contingency expenses of their projected costs.
My advice to Himpunan Hijau: Don’t get too close to any political party that pays lip service to sustainable development or is more interested in unsustainable mega projects. Keep it a genuine people’s movement to promote green consciousness.