Muhyiddin sees no issues with nuclear plans

Posted on March 15, 2011. Filed under: Energy |

-Free Malaysia Today-

The deputy prime minister is confident that the government agency tasked with overseeing the matter, “will implement what is best”.

UPDATED

PUTRAJAYA:   Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin believes that Malaysia is capable of handling its nuclear ambitions.

While acknowledging the concerns in view of radiation leaks from Japan’s tsunami and quake-hit nuclear plants, he, however, assured that the government’s plans to build two plants here is safe.

“I think every country in the world is taking note of what is happening in Japan. There are many things that we can learn but what is important is the safety of the country and the public.

“In this matter, we have an agency that is responsible and we are confident that they will implement what is best,” he told a press conference here.

His statements come amid calls by both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat leaders for a review of the nuclear plans which aims to address the nation’s energy problem.

Yesterday, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek joined Gerakan and rivals DAP to call on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration to reconsider following the situation in Japan.

Chua said the government must first review the necessity of the plants and secondly consider the fact that Japan’s nuclear emergency, considered the worse since the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago, could happen to Malaysia due to the proposed location of the new plants.

The MCA president echoed the suggestions raised by rival DAP, who argued that Malaysia was more than capable of addressing its energy problems via other safer alternatives like solar and wind power.

DPM unsure if rare earth plant approved

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin appeared to be in the dark over another radiation related problem involving the construction of a rare earth refinery plant in the outskirts of Kuantan, Pahang.

Recently, Najib confirmed a New York Times (NYT) report published last week of the plant’s construction by Australian mining giant, Lynas Corporation.

However, Muhyiddin assured that there would be no repeat of the radioactive waste problem involving a now-shut plant in Bukit Merah near Ipoh.

“We understand that the residents are concerned but there are certain conditions that must be met like the safety and the environment.

“So the relevant agencies must study before a decision is made. Whether it has been approved or not, I am not sure,” he told reporters.

According to the NYT report, the government was pursuing a multi-billion ringgit investment in rare metals, which were key components in many hi-tech products.

Backed by the investment from Australian mining giant, Lynas, a massive processing plant would be constructed in Kuantan to produce metals used in products such as Apple’s iPhone, Toyota’s Prius and Boeing’s smart bombs.

Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board director-general Raja Datuk Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan told NYT that the project was only approved after an inter-agency review and assurance that the imported ore and subsequent waste would have low enough levels of radioactivity to be manageable and safe.

However, toxicologist Dr T Jayabalan, who treated leukaemia victims whose illnesses he and others had attributed to the Mitsubishi Chemicals plant in Bukit Merah, said that low or otherwise, exposure to such material remained hazardous.

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