Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh of PKR has demanded TV3, its journalist and a politician retract and apologise for defaming her in a news piece on the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng, Pahang.
Fuziah's lawyers sent out three letters of demand yesterday, with one naming environmental journalist Karam Singh Walia and TV3 as the first and second respondents while the other two letters were addressed to MCA Kuantan division chief Ti Lian Ker.
In the letter addressed to Karam and TV3, Fuziah (left) sought a complete withdrawal of a series of news pieces aired between June 28 and 30 and on Aug 24, which she claimed were “untruthful and the contents taken as a whole are highly defamatory” towards her.
She also demanded that TV3 not air the contentious news pieces in the future and provide an apology on terms approved by her lawyers.
In Ti's case, Fuziah demanded that the former state assemblyperson publish a withdrawal and apology over his statement carried by TV3.
In the news piece, Ti had allegedly quoted Fuziah as saying that “pegawai-pegawai kita, pakar-pakar Melayu, pakar-pakar rakyat Malaysia semua tak boleh dipercayai” (our officers, Malay experts, Malaysian experts, all cannot be trusted).
Her claims against Ti were outlined in two separate letters of demand, in reference to two separate incidents on June 30 and Aug 24 respectively when TV3 aired Ti's comments in its series of news pieces on the RM700 million plant.
All three letters also demanded a written assurance that no such allegations against Fuziah would be repeated, and sought damages and indemnity on legal costs.
On Wednesday night, TV3 aired a news piece by Karam in which two local nuclear experts – one of them her Pakatan colleague and PAS' Hulu Langat MP Che Rosli Che Mat – slammed Fuziah for allegedly misleading the public over the Lynas issue.
Fuziah, a PKR vice-president, railed against the news report, saying that the television station had insinuated she had been lying to the people over the dangers of the controversy-ridden project.
Strong basis for concerns
In a statement issued today, she again stressed that her position against the multi-million ringgit project, owned by Australian mining giant Lynas Corporation, is supported by in-depth research and views from at least seven local experts in toxicology, health, engineering, nuclear physics and law.
Fuziah pointed out that the rare earth industry is a “totally new” area in Malaysia and with no best practice model in operation anywhere in the world.
She repeated that the recent string of news reports carried by TV3 had a clear political purpose of discrediting her while at the same time supporting the Lamp project at the expense of the people of Gebeng, as well as Balok and Kuantan nearby, and Malaysians on the whole.
The Lynas controversy broke out early this year, after a group of disgruntled Kuantan residents mounted a peaceful protest in front of Parliament to demand the scrapping of the project over fears of potential radiation poisoning.
The Australian project saw sustained protests from locals, eventually forcing the federal government to moot the formation of an expert review panel headed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The panel eventually found the project to be complying with international radiation standards, but stressed that Lynas must first implement 11 recommendations before it could start operations.
However, this failed to appease detractors, who claimed that the scope of the recommendations put forward by the panel was too narrow.
The rare earth processing facility was initially scheduled for completion next month, but the approval of its pre-operating licence from the federal government is still pending.