Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wong Tack to Dr Xavier Jayakumar: Jangan Kerbau lah!

From Malaysiakini:

Don't mislead public by talking about 'sustainable' rare-earth mining

Wong Tack  |  Published:   |  Modified: 
MP SPEAKS | As the expiry of Lynas’s operating licence looms near, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar and his ministry’s officials have heightened their advocacy for the rare earth industry, constantly making use of the fashionable green term “sustainable”.
Sustainability is about the ability to regenerate and thrive. And mining is not a “sustainable” economic activity. The only “sustainability” observed in mining is the irreparable damages done to the environment or biodiversity.
The Raub Australian Gold Mine in Bukit Koman and the Mamut copper mine in Ranau, Sabah, are two living testimonies to this. Therefore, I hope the term “sustainable” will not be abused and misused as it could be seen as an attempt to mislead the people.
Another favourite narrative used by minister Xavier, and by another minister, is the so-called huge potential of the rare earth industry. Without a detailed study and plan or environmental accounting done, they claimed that this industry is worth RM100 billion over a 10-year period.
I think this habit of “plucking figures out of the air” is highly irresponsible for a minister, and reminiscent of the behaviour of ministers from the previous BN administration.
Recently, our nation has been rocked by the deaths of 15 Orang Asli from the Bateq tribe in Kuala Koh. New evidence suggests those deaths could be linked to an illegal manganese mine operating nearby. How could such a big operation like mining escape the radars of our enforcers all these while? 
I believe there are many more mines that are either operating illegally or failing to adhere to laws and regulations all over the country right now.
Therefore, I urge the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry to place priority in improving enforcement, tightening up loopholes in our laws and rehabilitating old mining sites before we even start to think about digging up the whole country.
Furthermore, extraction and exploitation is the business model for resource management of the past. Leaders of this era should be more progressive, innovative and visionary. There are many opportunities to generate sustainable thriving economic developments.
If we put efforts into properly managing our natural resources, sectors like tourism, agriculture, sports, arts, culture, conservation and research will contribute greatly to our sustainable economy.
Malaysia must not continue with the old ways of doing business at a time when the whole world has awakened, with countries and schoolchildren like Greta Thunberg taking steps to save the world. If we keep destroying our environment, one day we may face a boycott from the entire international community on everything that our country produces.
With that, I strongly urge political leaders of this nation to cease being salespersons for Lynas.
Lynas’s massive amount of toxic radioactive waste will destroy our environment and will remain a health hazard as well as a financial burden to our children until the end of time.
Why should our children and our environment pay the price for the profit and interest of foreign corporations and countries?
The mistakes of the Bukit Merah toxic radioactive legacy may be due to ignorance and foolishness. Knowingly repeating the same mistake, however, would be an act of greed and irresponsibility.
Irresponsible leaders who cause harm to the environment and well-being of the people will be punished in the next election.

WONG TACK is the MP for Bentong.

Kaytee adds for your perusal my previous post:
(2) Kipas Minister told to STFU on Lynas.


  1. This issue looks like it is more than just Malaysian politics, local politics, environmental protection, safety, employment, compliance with laws and regulations etc.

    It has all the behind the scenes of global politics of protecting economies and businesses in the rare earth mining and production for use in industries and businesses.

    China is the world's largest producer of Rare Earths and so many countries esp those critical industries in the Western world which uses rare earth do not want to be held to ransom including their Govt. if China uses this as a weapon in politics, trade or whatever negotiations.

    Unlike China which can mine and produce Rare Earths without much opposition from environmental groups in China, such a situation is not so in most Western countries where the public and such groups are strong and can shape even politics of their countries on a wider scale which any sane politician in power in their countries will not allow.

    Western countries and their industries knew they need plants like Lynas to process Rare Earths to prevent themselves being held hostage in the event China stops exporting Rare Earth and thus need to set up such plants in other places outside of China to ensure continued supplies for their own industries.

    This is where countries like Malaysia where environmental groups and the general public are weak and Govt. laws are lax in enforcement or does not posed a big threat towards the ruling powers are much sought after to site such plants outside their countries.

    And it wouldn't be surprising if those Western Govt. are even prepared covertly to pump in monies whether to aid, bribe, control local perceptions, local print and social medias just to ensure such plants continue to remain to operate even perhaps if at a lost to the company concerned.

    It is also closely related to why plastics trash and other harmful waste/chemicals/byproducts which are exported out of the Western world to 3rd world countries to be dumped or processed and the willingness to pay handsomely to willing importers of such harmful trash.

    Are such plants like Lynas or those factories which processes trash/garbage/chemical imported from other countries good or bad for Malaysia and it's citizens just for the sake of providing jobs, investment, economy etc?

    Or is Malaysia also a party in siding with global politics on the supply of Rare Earths indirectly for other trade-offs like Palm Oil, more investments, more jobs or politics?

  2. whats the diff btw xavier n ah kok?