Saturday, May 28, 2011

Malaysiakini: Anti-Lynas groups to strategise on Sunday

Joseph Sipalan
May 27, 11

Groups opposed to the on-going Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) project are expected to meet in Kuantan on Sunday to strategise how to put their strongest arguments across in what little time they will be allotted by the project's review panel next week.

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, among those invited to meet the nine-member panel, stressed that each group is limited to only 30 minutes to present its views.

"They have given us very little time, so that is why we are having a pre-council meeting to focus on what issues each stakeholder will raise," she said.

NONEFuziah, (right) who is also a PKR vice-president, said the meeting will involve the Pahang Bar, Malaysian Medical Association and several other groups they believe have been invited to meet the panel.

She pointed out, however, that they cannot be sure who exactly has been invited, as she claimed the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) - which is coordinating the six-day panel visit to Malaysia - has been closed mouthed over the identities of those called for the private hearings.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamad had said yesterday that invitations had already been sent out to various stakeholders, including political parties, the Pahang Bar, MMA and residents' associations, but stopped short of revealing the identities of most of the stakeholders.

"I asked Miti which other stakeholders were invited, but they wouldn't tell me. This is strange... I know that the residents' associations in Balok, which is right next to the project site, were not," Fuziah said.

Fuziah stressed that the two days of consultation in Kuantan this coming Monday and Tuesday are of primary importance, and urged all stakeholders to set aside their differences and work together to produce a solid case against Lynas.

"This issue transcends (political) parties. I'm okay working with everyone because the issue is Lynas, it's not the BN or anyone," she said.

Public session of vital necesity

Fuziah also maintained her earlier call for a public session to be held in Kuantan with the panel, stressing that most locals would be too intimidated to request for representation before the panel.

Mustapa had said yesterday that holding a public session would "defeat the purpose" of the panel's work, as it needs to gather public views objectively without the emotional and political baggage that are bound to come with an open meeting.

Fuziah said, however ,that Mustapa's logic also runs counter to the NONEreason the panel was formed in the first place, which was to look into the plant's safety aspects, the result of a public outcry.

"Not having a public session would also defeat the purpose of having the panel holding only private hearings and no public sessions... we won't know what will be in the exchange (between the panel and stakeholders)," she said.

The nine-member panel is scheduled to arrive in Malaysia on Sunday, after which they will be immediately briefed on the background and updates of the controversial RM700 million Lynas

They will then spend three days from Monday to Wednesday in Kuantan, having their private sessions for the first two days and possibly also conduct site visits.

The remainder of their visit, ending next Friday, will be spent in Putrajaya. The panel is expected to complete and submit their report to the government by the end of June.

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