Sunday, April 24, 2011

Government must value health and environment as much as investment

Press Release

Government must value health and environment as much as investment

The Malaysian Bar fully supports the resolution passed by the Pahang Bar, at its Extraordinary General Meeting held yesterday, in respect of the setting up of a rare earth processing plant in Kuantan by Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Residents in Pahang are gravely concerned over the operation of the plant, as the plant’s by-product of radioactive wastes will certainly have an adverse impact, directly or indirectly, on the environment and on human health.

The resolution mandates the Pahang Bar to immediately set up a special subcommittee to, inter alia, conduct an in-depth study into the plant, including its environmental impact and the disposal or storage of the resulting wastes. The subcommittee would also “provide legal representation in the event of any litigation in an appropriate case that may ensue and/or proposed against Lynas and/or any other necessary party thereof”.

Whilst the Malaysian Bar welcomes the Government’s decision to form an international panel of “independent experts”, the Bar calls upon the Government to ensure that only renowned and respected experts are appointed to this panel.

The panel should not rush to complete its responsibility within one month, if more time is required in order for it to carry out its duties scrupulously. Furthermore, it is crucial that the panel engages the residents of Pahang, to hear their concerns and obtain their views.

Finally, the Government must demonstrate that it has learnt from its past mistakes. In future, the Government must establish an independent panel far in advance, give it adequate time to conduct a detailed study and consult the people who will be affected, and then consider the panel’s report carefully before making a decision on whether to approve such projects.

Lim Chee Wee
Malaysian Bar

22 Apr 2011

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