MP SPEAKS | From the outset, it was a known fact that Bukit Ketam is situated in a water catchment area.
This information was revealed by Maketab Mohamed, a water quality expert, the moment news was out in mid-February last year that Lynas plans to build its toxic radioactive waste dump in Bukit Ketam.
Identifying a location to build its permanent waste disposal (PDF) facility was a condition set for Lynas’ licence renewal.
The revelation by Maketab was sufficient to automatically disqualify Bukit Ketam as a site to dump radioactive waste. Therefore, this effectively means Lynas has failed to satisfy the condition for renewing its licence.
But to the shock of the people, about two weeks after the revelation, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) continues to bulldoze through a three-year licence extension for Lynas.
How could this happen? Through what channel and influence Lynas got its licence renewed?
In a series of reports over the past few days, Malaysiakini has also exposed many irregularities on the events surrounding Bukit Ketam.
The most disturbing was the revelation that a massive chunk of forest reserve will be sacrificed to make way for the development of the Multi-Category Industrial Scheduled Waste Disposal Site, in which the Lynas’ PDF will be sited.
It is understood that the Pahang Forestry Department has given the green-light to log and land clearing can begin in the middle of this month.
This certainly looks more like a ‘balak scam’ in the guise of a toxic waste disposal development project.
So, it really doesn’t matter whether Lynas’ Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) gets approved or not at the end of the day. Large chunks of precious forest reserve would have been stripped bare by then and valuable timber happily trucked away.
The alleged irregularities surrounding the issue of Lynas have gone on for more than a decade.
It’s time for the people of this nation to stand up in unison and say: enough is enough!
We must call on the government to immediately suspend Lynas’ operating licence to prevent further generation of radioactive waste, until a safe solution is found to the nearly one million tonnes already generated and piled up in Lynas’ flood-prone backyard.
We must also object strongly to any logging activities in Bukit Ketam, a Rank 1 environmentally sensitive area. We should not allow a single tree to be felled!
WONG TACK is Bentong MP.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.