Wednesday, 14 March 2012

LYNAS or safety?

Isu LYNAS bukan isu anti-nuklear lagi. Ianya adalah menyelamatkan Malaysia daripada benda berbahaya diuruskan oleh BN yang kaki rasuah dan penuh korupsi.

Jikalau pun keselamatan LYNAS boleh dibuktikan secara saintifik, siapa boleh jamin 'keselamatan' BN?

Lynas not just about safety
Dr Chooi Weng Wai • Feb 29, 12 9:50

I know of someone who has a fear of flying. He would, however, quite happily jump onto his motorcycle and ride around the countryside of Essex in England despite statistical evidence suggesting he is a few thousand times more likely to die in a road accident than he would in an air accident.
Over the many years of his life, his friends and family have presented him with statistical and scientific evidence on the safety of air travel.

Nevertheless, this intelligent, well-educated man would not change his mind, and would rather, in his own words, "eat burning coal than board an aircraft". In Malaysia, the government have granted Lynas permission to build and operate a rare earth plant in Gebeng.

This is despite strong opposition from the local population.The government have exploited the mainstream media to its fullest possible level to market this project to the public.Nuclear scientists and so-called safety experts have been wheeled out to highlight the benefits of this project and trivialise the risks involved.
We have the prime minister pumping out the message that this project is safe, and supporters like S Param arguing for it in the name of science and knowledge.

First of all, as an engineer, I know that no system is infallible, especially one of this size and complexity. An accident is, by definition, an unexpected event, it is not something that science or engineering could have predicted and design against - you can never design against the unknown.

Fukushima and Three Mile Island are perfect testaments to this unfortunate reality.

Debates on the safety of Lynas have, however, overtaken and masked a more important point - the local population is simply uncomfortable with the risks associated with this plant, however low or insignificant they might be.
You could argue that their fear is irrational and without scientific basis. But one cannot ignore a simple, overriding fact: They do not want it in Gebeng, and this factor alone must hold supreme in any decision to build a plant in their backyards.

To force Lynas on the people living near the plant is like is forcing my aviophobic friend to take a 22- hour flight from London to Australia against his will.

The poor man would probably live in fear for the duration of the flight, even though to the rest of us it might seem an irrational and unfounded reaction to a scientifically and statistically proven mode of travel.
I believe you would agree that it would be cruel and inhumane to subject a fellow human being to this kind of torment.
Similarly, it would be inhumane to compel the people living near Lynas to suffer the same kind of mental torture for many years and over many generations!

My point is quite simple: The people of Malaysia, especially the local population of Gebeng, do not want Lynas.

The fact that so-called experts have adjudged that Lynas is low risk is, quite frankly, irrelevant. It appears that the prime minister have listened to his advisers and accepted their arguments on the matter of safety and risks associated with Lynas.

Unfortunately, he has forgotten that, in a democratic system of governance, it is we, the people of Malaysia (particularly the local people of Gebeng, in this case), who must have decide whether or not we wish to take this on.Until the people of Malaysia are happy to accept the risk-benefit associated with this venture, it is the duty of the government to accede to the wish of the people and suspend operations at Gebeng.
Anything less is a travesty. The rest of Malaysia must also take note of the government's handling of this matter.

So far, this affair is a damming indictment on the arrogance of the ruling elite. If they could inflict this inhumane treatment on the people of Gebeng today, it could be your turn tomorrow.I would also like to mention that while I respect the view of S Param in his letter, I do take exception to his use of a quote by Marie Curie in support of Lynas. Madam Curie was referring to sacrifices necessary in pursuit of knowledge.

Lynas is not about research or knowledge - it is about business and money.
I suggest it is more appropriate for us to consider a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: "There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics."
In the context of Lynas, the people of Malaysia are today fighting the three last immoralities mentioned by Gandhi.

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