Adnan: ‘We may as well close Gebeng’

Posted on April 15, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

-The Star-

KUANTAN: Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the whole of the Gebeng industrial zone may as well be closed if the public continues to protest against the setting up of a rare earth refinery.

He said this was because every industry in Gebeng, the nation’s chemical and petrochemical hub, produced some form of emission.

“If the people really feel strongly about it, then we can recommend for a total closure of Gebeng, and we shall see the reaction of the 20,000 people working there and that of their families,” he said yesterday.

He said the state government was drafting a way to ensure a more effective means of disseminating information about Lynas Corp – the owner of the rare earth refinery – to the public.

Adnan said armed with proper information, the public could then choose whether they want investment that could give them benefits or the opposition who wanted to be popular.

“If we want to be paranoid like them, we can argue that they are being instigated by a Lynas rival,” said Datuk Shahaniza Shamsuddin (BN – Kuala Sentul).

She said Australia and the United States were competing for the lion’s share of the rare earth futures market since supply from China, the biggest producer of rare earth minerals now, would dry up by 2015.

Quoting from a report, Shahaniza said Lynas would produce one-third of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals after two years of operation in Gebeng.

Several senior officers from the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and Nuclear Malaysia were seen in the public gallery.

Among them were Nuclear Malaysia’s waste and environmental technology division director Dr Muhamat Omar and AELB licensing director Hasmadi Hassan.

They also gave demonstrations on radiation reading to state assemblymen including the opposition during tea break.

When met later, Adnan said the state government planned to engage international experts in his road show on Lynas’ operations.

The sitting resumes on Monday.

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