Are Pakatan leaders softening their stand on Lynas?


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.

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Sammy Boy

Sambutan Ulang Tahun Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP) Ke-47:

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Penceramah: Lim Guan Eng, Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim dan pemimpin-pemimpin PR

Semua hadirin dijemput datang!


Dear Anil & All: NO, there’s NO SOFTENING of stand. But a change of approach. As an activist one can say anything but as a government one has to be careful – otherwise the gov. will end up paying compensation in the billions. I think both Anwar & Wong Tack are on the right track.

I had seen it here in Sabah in 1985/6 when PBS sacked some officers but ended-up paying hefty compensation (court rulings). More haste, more waste!

Kai-Lit Phua

Well, Mr Calvin

In order to get an idea of how politicians actually operate in the real world of hardball politics, just take a look at how the successful ones speak e.g. Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan.

The only politicians who are more likely to say what they actually feel are those who are motivated by ideology (secular or religious such as socialism or political Islam). All the rest engage in ambiguous talk when speaking to the general public or play to the gallery when speaking to true believers and single issue types.


Operating in the real world of hardballs has its hey days (numbered), even in 3rd world countries. We the more knowledgeable citizens & netizens know precisely what we want & expected of politicians. The divide between the rich & poor has gone beyond repairs : 1% vs 99%. This speaks volume of where the winds of change will blow when things don’t go well. Money alone is not a quick fix nor is it a catalyst for any practical change. Don’t act like the snake-oil salesmen of the 60’s beguiling the public with heady promises of magic potions that only… Read more »

Calvin Sankaran

You guys must be joking for saying that Lynas as be accepted if they pass all the necessary requirements.All along PR and Anti-Lynas groups(they are one and the same for most parts aren’t they) rejected any attempts to subject Lynas for safety examinations. They refused to participate in any independent verifications. They rejected Lynas point-blant, no negotiations or compromise at all. Why then the sudden change in the direction while maintaining their hard line stance until now ? Please don’t be so naive saying that Anwar was speaking to the Oz media. PR politicians have been critical about Lynas to… Read more »

SL Wong (@wong8898)

Well, we must admit that for flexibility purposes sometime soft thing can become hard and vice versa, don’t we? A responsible government should have known it. A soft standing now doesn’t mean it won’t be hard again.

Mike Terrence

Anil, heres my 2 sen thought. Due to the fine line our politics have on daily life issue, it is not surprising things change every so often. Firstly, Lynas issues inherited many ‘back door, hidden door’ policies thru the devil regimen which means Unless there are means to look at the entire deal and have a clear understanding, one has to ‘shut down the plant’. Unfortunately, the only way to Open up is thru political means and might. Secondly, there is no assurance given to operate Lynas if the requirements from the new Gov’t is not met. I suppose we… Read more »


I was also somewhat disturbed initially when I came across the Australian paper’s interview of Anwar, and then Wong TAck’s statement which mirrored Anwar’s stance. Thoughts of how could they change their avowed stance to close down LYNAS crossed my mind. But on further inspection, I think they have merely stated the obvious – If LYNAS can conclusively prove that their operations are safe, then there are no grounds to shut them down. IF the proof is air-tight. Indeed, should (when?) Pakatan win GE13, they would have a mighty hard time trying to shut down LYNAS if LYNAS can prove… Read more »

Calvin Sankaran

Anil, Please discard your Pakatan Kool-Aid and come down to your senses. It is not “softening” of stance but a massive U-turn. You had been extremely vocal and highlighting the Lynas issue numerous times. Yet when the very leaders betray the cause,you deem this only requires a mild slap on their wrists ? What Wong Tat had done is an unforgivable betrayal. Not only that he is standing under a political party banner but he completely reversed his stance.What would he do next if PR wins the GE? Become a “consultant” and a member of board for Lynas? Don’t you… Read more »

Kai-Lit Phua

No, this is just the way smart politicians talk, to seem “reasonable” to the Australian public and non-partisans..

Since Lynas is very unlikely to pass scrutiny by objective public health experts and environmental science experts, there is little to lose by saying that it can operate if found to be safe.

Take a look at the report from OKO Institut


What is safe and what is healthy is different for different countries. Our AELB had made sure that lynas was safe by stretching the numbers. This meant that lynas is “safe” legally in malaysia.


Politicians are the same everywhere. After leading masses to follow their cause, they have no temerity to acknowledge the deception they committed for the sake of power. In this case IAEA and the courts have already decided. The law does not permit what they intend to do by cancelling the licence or subject a person to a similar enquiry again. The more transparent it becomes the more Lynas has to be given the license. So are they going to manipulate the process? In the end Lynas will still continue. Look out for the deceptive reasons they want to give. It’s… Read more »


The process was tainted and flawed.

The regulations were (allegedly) added and changed to accomodate lynas plant’s inadequacies.

Undertaking was given a new twist with semantics of ‘waste’ and ‘residue’ and ‘useful recycled products’. Something which would not have been allowed in more advance countries. Our regulatory authorities had bent backwards to accomodate lynas’ failings and inadequate waste management.

What you had described is really a reflection of who you are…


Dear Amus, We probably had debated on this a long time ago. If you’re the same person, as far as I can recollect at that time you were not able to articulate which part of the process you had objected to. But I must admit you’re probably one of the best debater for Anti Lynas movement. No one, save one other commentator, had ever come anywhere close in articulating their objection based on safety reason like you. In a number of debates we actually went through the IAEA report where most had no clue on this. Unable to reply, they… Read more »


Anil, if you didn’t know by now, Anwar plays to the gallery. And it seems so does Wong Tack. Just another dirty politician in an eco-warrior clothing.


People do indeed get the governments they deserve – because the kind of people who get elected are usually projections of the mass psyche. It would be impossible to put an honest government in power if the majority of the population was dishonest. And if most of the influential players happen to be obsessed with making money, they will ultimately support politicians for whom the Bottom Line is the key factor. So before we point at any political party or leader – ask ourselves: IS MAKING MONEY OUR #1 PRIORITY IN LIFE? DO WE WORSHIP THE GOD OF ECONOMIC NECESSITY?… Read more »

Jayanath A

Please correct me if am wrong but i thought you have endorsed Wong Tack as a DAP candidate?
BTW, Wong Tack has also changed his position on Lynas!

Jayanath {SABM}


Anil, see this article :

This is the reality.. politicians are puppets. BN or Pakatan, they are just tools to create an illusion.The real power lies with the puppet masters at the back. The puppet masters are the political and economic elite of the country. They are the people who own this country – all the major assets of the country are owned by them.