15 March 2011
I am greatly disappointed in the statement made by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today that the federal government intends to proceed with its nuclear power plans despite a worldwide shift in attitude towards nuclear power.
Within the last 24-hours, governments as diverse as Germany, Switzerland and the Philippines have all suspended or reversed their nuclear plans. Taiwan has announced that it is reviewing all of its plants in light of the Japan disaster.
Muhyiddin’s stance is not science- and fact-based policy making, it is sheer arrogance. Approval should not precede assessment.
The Deputy Prime Minister himself has just admitted that he is not sure if approval has been given to the radioactive rare earth processing plant in Kuantan, this is despite the fact that construction has already begun.
At this rate, are we going to have two nuclear plants constructed before safety assessment has even been completed?
This is no way to safeguard the well-being and health of Malaysians. All hazardous technologies should undergo a rigorous assessment and review process through multiple agencies as well as public consultation before any policy approval is granted for their implementation.
Despite Minister Peter Chin’s claim that the government will not go ahead secretly without informing the public, we have already seen the government field-test genetically-modified mosquitoes last year and only inform the public one month after the release.
The federal government needs to make up its mind. Which is more important: public safety or promises to their friends in business?
The federal authorities should suspend approval for nuclear power until a transparent, independent, and credible assessment and consultation process is completed. The consideration of nuclear power must be done alongside assessment of our increasing capacities in the field of renewable energy. Malaysia is set to become the world’s number three producer of solar cells while we have zero production capacity for nuclear. The federal government must start incorporating logic into its energy planning policies.
YB ELIZABETH WONG
Executive councillor, Selangor State Government
Chairperson of Standing Committee for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment