Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lynas: Malaysia Must Avoid Another Bukit Merah Tragedy, Says PRM President

Lynas: Malaysia Must Avoid Another Bukit Merah Tragedy, Says PRM President

by Haider Yutim   
KUALA LUMPUR, 29 FEBRUARY, 2012: Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) president Dr Rohana Ariffin (pic) said the party supports the anti-Lynas protest as it does not want the same incident that happened in Bukit Merah to happen in Gebeng, Kuantan as well.

.."We go for a more constructive, and clean industry.. for a more secure future," she said when contacted by Malaysian Digest.

She said the reason of the protest is because people are not certain what will happen at the Lynas plant.

Besides, she said Australia is such a big country and it is better to build the plant there rather than here.

Commenting about incident in Bukit Merah, Rohana told that PRM is one of the first to get lawyers to represent the people there, which took them eight years of court sessions.

She said the Bukit Merah plant had to close down in 1994 because of the high cancer rate there.

"So we don't want such thing to happen in Gebeng as well... and prevention is better than cure," said Rohana.

She said during that time, not many young people and people outside of Perak were involved during the protest, and they were also not that aware unlike nowadays.

"I don't know why some younger generations were not aware at that time... but now they are more concern," said Rohana.

She added that PRM certainly support the anti-Lynas group for the sake of a safer Malaysia and it is good to see young people participating in protesting to determine the future of the country, and their concern for other Malaysians.

The incident in Bukit Merah saw a case where the Asian Rare Earth Sdn Bhd (ARE) plant was built in Bukit Merah, Perak despite being extremely hazardous towards health where series of protests were held only to be fell on deaf ears.

The workers and the people in that area started having health problems where they suffered bouts of coughs and colds, and sharp rise in leukaemia, infant deaths, congenital disease and lead poisoning cases.

Experts also found the site unsuitable in terms of design and not meeting international standards.

The villagers and people, including PRM tried to stop its operations through legal grounds and marches only to end up being blocked by FRU personnels and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

In 1994, the plant eventually stopped its operations succumbing to public pressure from both national and international.

- mD