Politics of rare earth


Politics of rare earth

Politics of rare earth

Thursday, March 1, 2012
  • lynas
Why Opposition politicians do not accept the conclusion of Pas Member of Parliament Dr Che Rosli Che Mat that Lynas plant in Gebeng, Kuantan is safe? (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)

KUALA LUMPUR: If Pakatan Rakyat is not going to listen to their own expert's statements about the safety of the Lynas plant, they should take action against a factory in an opposition-run state that has been using rare earth elements for years, says a Malaysian blogger.


Blogger Apanama wrote in his blog yesterday that the presence of a factory that produces rare earth magnets in Selangor “should be screaming in the faces of Pakatan Rakyat’s hypocrites”.


“Shin-Etsu (M) Sdn.Bhd, a rare earth magnet producing factory, is operating right under their nose in the Hicom Industrial Area in Shah Alam,” he said.


“Could we expect the Pakatan led Selangor state government to close down the factory which has been operating in this country for decades?” he asked.


The post attracted critical comments, including one which pointed out that the factory merely produces rare-earth magnets and is not a rare-earth refinery like the one planned near Kuantan.


That point was echoed by another reader, who said, “There is a big difference between refining rare earths, and using one of the rare earth elements to manufacture magnets.”


However, there were also comments in support of the blogger’s argument, with one pointing out that there are three steps in the rare earth element (REE) industry, and that supporting a factory that merely uses rare earth elements means supporting the entire process.


Another reader mentioned Dr. Che Rosli Che Mat of Pas, a nuclear expert who had once accused critics of Lynas of “frightening the public”.


In a follow-up post, Firdaus linked to an article about the statements made by Dr. Che Rosli, and criticised the anti-Lynas camp -- which includes opposition politicians such as PKR's Fuziah Salleh -- for disregarding expert opinions on the matter.


“Why is it that those barking out aloud against Lynas,” he asked, “have refused to listen to the voice of reason from experts and nuclear scientists?” 


Apanama suggested the answer has something to do with the DAP’s politics.