Pahang PAS commissioner Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said while they "respect" Che Rosli's views on the controversial project, for PAS it is the people who come first.
"His statement is his right and personal expert opinion that should be respected. This is not an issue for the party. Instead, we celebrate this difference of opinion on this matter in line with democracy," Tuan Ibrahim said in a statement.
Che Rosli was recently quoted by pro-government station TV3 as saying he was "ashamed" that Kuantan MP and PKR vice-president Fuziah Salleh had misled the public into going against the RM700 million project in Gebeng, Pahang.
This earned him a scathing rebuke from Fuziah, who described Che Rosli's arguments in support of the project as "too simplistic".
Tuan Ibrahim (left) acknowledged that there has been a clash in arguments between experts for and against Lamp, but maintained that Pahang PAS will not waver in its opposition to the project being built Australian mining giant Lynas Corporation.
"... for PAS, the rakyat must come first in this issue. Concerns over risks faced by the people due to the Lynas project, especially the residents of Kuantan, cannot be brushed aside. The rakyat have the biggest right and must be heard," he said.
Gebeng residents well aware about Bukit Merah case
Tuan Ibrahim pointed out that the Lamp project would not bring any benefit, save for a handful of jobs, compared with the risks that come with the rare earth processing plant.
He said in many high-risk projects, such as nuclear plants, nuclear experts would say that there is no danger "under normal circumstances".
Tuan Ibrahim noted that residents in Gebeng, where the project is located, and nearby Kuantan are well aware of the Bukit Merah case of the 1980s, where a rare earth plant run by a Japanese company was blamed for killing and poisoning scores of local people from radiation poisoning.
He stressed that in such cases, the local residents ended up facing dangers wrought by such projects, while the "experts" who gave their support for the projects would quietly slink away.
"... when something happens outside of human control due to negligence, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and other events, will we only then want to admit that it has become a threat?"
Meanwhile, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar accused TV3 of attempting to discredit Fuziah in their bid “to further BN's narrow and divisive political objectives”.
In declaring their party's support for Fuziah, Nurul Izzah said the BN had merely hidden behind two nuclear experts who had misrepresented the aims and objectives of the anti-Lynas movement.
“The anti-Lynas movement was never narrowly confined to objecting about radioactivity alone. On the contrary, the movement opposed Lamp on the basis that operating a rare earth refinery in Prime Minister Najib Razak's home state brings with it other hazards such as health and environmental damage that would have dire consequences for the tourism and fishing industry, thus the local economy as a whole.
“Lamp will be the world's largest rare earth plant outside China once it operates. We believe that the health and safety of the residents of Gebeng and the surrounding areas are too precious to be sacrificed for short-term economic benefit. In this regard, YB Fuziah has rightly defended the rights of Gebeng residents, and should be applauded for continuing to do so as a responsible member of Parliament for Kuantan,” she said in a statement.