How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lynas, oh Lynas...

You are so far-sighted to have spotted tiny Malaysia for radioactive waste disposal when your Australian hinterland is bigger than even the whole of Europe!

You are so kind to think of sending tons of earth at great trouble and expense by sea over thousands of kilometres just to increase our foreign direct investments.

I believe a Parliamentary Select Committee is not going to help the situation because for those with vested interests, they have already decided to have the plant operational, by hook or by crook. For those who opposed, nothing short of a shut-down before it can start is acceptable because there is no room for compromise.

Like those Royal Commissions of Inquiry, PSC is going to be merely a delaying tactic and whitewash without resolving the real issue.

Our present government should be held responsible if the Lynas plant is going ahead after whatever studies and inquiries. Perhaps, we have better chance of stopping them in Australia than relying on our political leaders who are more concerned with their own private interests than that of our citizens.


Anonymous said...

What’s the activity of the waste from Lynas?

Only one of the three waste streams is radioactive. It’s the water leach purification (WLP) residue. The activity is 6.2 Bq/kg. It’s wet and compact. It won’t be blown about by the wind. It can be easily prevented from contact with large numbers of people.

I have focused on the use of phosphate fertilisers in tobacco farming as smoke is the biggest source of radiation we are exposed to. But Malaysia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil, and farming is still a large component of our economy. We grow rubber, tea, vegetables, etc. We use a lot of fertilisers, which are toxic materials.

According to the World Bank, in 2008 we used 930kg of fertilisers (not just phosphates, but also nitrogenous and potash fertilisers) per hectare of arable land. And we have about five million hectares of land under palm oil cultivation. That’s about 12.5 million acres. About 600,000 people are employed in the oil palm sector of Malaysia’s economy.

In 2004, researchers from Universiti Teknologi Mara and the Malaysian Institute for Nuclear Technology Research (MINT) published results of studies on the activity levels in oil palm plantations.

Their samples were from Jengka 15 in Maran district, Pahang. They focused on potassium, K-40. The plantations had been fertilised with FELDA Plantation Myers (FPM) fertilisers for 25 years, with three applications per month over the last three years.

They found activity from 53 to 150 Bq/kg, with a median (mid-point) of 114 Bq/kg.

What that means is that some areas of Pahang have about 20 times more radioactivity than the compact waste from Lynas.

The Mara/MINT researchers referenced a similar study in Bachok district, Kelantan, which reported values of 255 to 455 Bq/kg, with a median of 360 Bq/kg. The difference is explained by differences in the soil and the practice of intensive fertilisation.

What that means is that some areas of Kelantan have about 60 times more radioactivity than the compact waste from Lynas.

My friends stayed away from tobacco because it’s radioactive and dangerous.

We know phosphate fertilisers and oil palm plantations have higher levels of radioactivity than compact waste from Lynas. What do we expect from manufacturers, transporters and users of phosphate fertilisers? What actions do we expect from FELDA and others who grow oil palm? Are our five million hectares of oil palm plantations unsafe?

Should we be more concerned about engineered, risk-managed, easy-to-monitor Lynas or about a national policy which promotes the spreading of “radioactive” fertilisers over vast tracts of land and converts it into tobacco and palm oil?

If we oppose Lynas on grounds of radioactivity, what are we smoking?
spiros papadakis
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

KoSong Cafe said...

The main point is: why would an Australian company send its waste to be processed in Malaysia when logically it could have been done locally? Shouldn't we be at least cautious, especially when China seems to monopolize the processing of rare earth? Many countries must have shunned this particular industry.

Our political leaders are known not for being scrupulous but greedy for personal gains, and our people lack the discipline to see through the whole process from approval, construction, compliance and maintenance, if not now, then later on.

We can argue till the cows come home on the harmful effects of other industries, and even on our daily food items like milk and margarine.

The way the plant is being constructed showed the undue haste in putting the cart before the horse, with some matters on compliance still wanting. Is this the way our government normally does its administration? Shouldn't we stop it if we have even the slightest of doubt?