Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lynas project will stop if proven harmful'

The Prime Minister gave his assurance the Lynas project would not proceed should it is scientifically proven to harm the people's health and the environment.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak told listeners of a radio show -988 Street VIP- aired on FM 988 today, the evidences must show the rare earth project would be harmful.
"We will never compromise the safety of the people and the environment.

"Our people's health and the environment are absolutely our top priority. We will not compromise on them," he said in the one-hour radio show.

But for those against Lynas, Najib said, a dialogue was needed to find out the scientific and technical arguments against Lynas.

"If there are serious evidences, I certainly will not allow Lynas to operate," said the prime minister.

But Najib was quick to point out he would not accept arguments made based on emotional and political reasons.

"There is tendency to use this issue for political objective. At what has started as pure environmental issues, it has become a political issue and this is unfortunate."

Najib said the dialogue was necessary to pool the views coupled with solid scientific proves from all relevant parties before the government made its decision.

He said the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on Lynas was set up to look at all avenues to find best ways to solve some of the people's concerns about the rare earth project.

"We hope to get an objective assessment on this project from the PSC," he said.

Najib said although the government was not legally bound to follow PSC's recommendations, but they would "certainly be a very strong moral basis" for the government in its decision about the Lynas project.

Najib also responded on the Chinese community's concern regarding the shortage of Mandarin speaking teachers in Chinese schools.

He said the Cabinet had appointed Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong to discuss with the Chinese Education schools.

"I believe he has done so and has presented (his findings) to (Education minister) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

"His proposals have been accepted in principle and now it is up to us to ensure an effective implementation so what can be done immediately we'll do and what may need longer time will proceed," he said.

The government, he added, had allowed headmasters to appoint temporary teachers immediately.

"We will also replace non-Mandarin speaking counselling teachers with those who do so that they can interact effectively with the students," he said.

The prime minister also stressed the need to have both progress and conservation.

He used the Sungai Buloh-Kajang My Rapid Transit (MRT) project as an example on the matter at hand.

"Having an efficient public transport is absolutely necessary. Otherwise the traffic jam in KL will get worse and worse," he said.

He said those who was worried about the MRT project especially property owners along Jalan Sultan was not against the project.

"What they want from the government their shop houses will not be affected and I have given them such an assurance and we will do everything possible to preserve these shop lots.

"We are even prepared to declare these shop houses as heritage buildings because it is also important for us to preserve our history and legacy."

On My First Home scheme, Najib said it had taken off well.

"The success rate according to Bank Negara is somewhere in the region of 36.6 per cent and hundreds of applications are still under considerations by various merchant banks," he said.

The government, he said, would assess the scheme and would make it easier for home buyers by making improvements on it.

On Malaysia economic growth, the nation expected to record between 4.5 and five per cent growth this year, said Najib.

With various projects including strong domestic support, the prime minister said he was reasonably confidence to see such a growth.

"What I cannot do is to control the external factors. If these external factors improve, we will do better."

Capital FM staff posing with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during his visit to 988 fm radio station for an hour interview session this morning.

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