Lynas issue may influence voters’ behaviour

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BLOOMBERG

THE ongoing Lynas issue might not be the main factor of the voters’ wavering trust towards Pakatan Harapan (PH), but failure to fulfil promises will certainly betray their trust and damage the ruling coalition’s image in the long run.

Economist and political analyst Prof Dr Hoo Ke Ping said it is obvious that the PH government is not following through with most of their pledges made before the election.

“As we can see, this definitely shows the incompetence of the government to carry out whatever they have said before the election.

“Regarding Lynas, the government did not give any clear statement on their decision, whether they are planning to close it or dispose it.

“There are way too many U-turns right now and unsurprisingly, that may influence some behavioural changes among the voters,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in a phone interview yesterday.

He added that in conjunction with the passing of the Undi 18 Bill, millennials are more aware of what is going on and breaking promises is not the kind of impression the government should be giving.

“An 18-year-old today is much more knowledgeable about radiation compared to the older generation.

“We cannot deny that Lynas deals with dangerous materials, although the radiation grade is low,” Hoo said.

“There are very few studies about the long-term impact of the waste and the rare-earth material.

“Now that the government has allowed Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd to operate, I think they should inform the public whether there will be any environmental impacts,” he added.

On the other hand, political analyst Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain said the government might be forced to give licence to the company because it involves the employment of many people.

“But if the government does not provide a clear explanation on Lynas, it will definitely affect their own performance going forward. People will start making unnecessary assumptions and it will give a political boost for Barisan Nasional,” he told TMR.

He added that, however, Lynas will not be the sole reason if PH is to topple in the next election.

“We understand that it is not easy to shut down Lynas so abruptly, but if the government continues to let them operate, people will blame the government for the consequences,” he said.

Recently Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed that the government has removed the requirements for Lynas Corp to repatriate its rare-earth processing waste as a precondition to renew its licence.

Instead, the mining company was told to construct a permanent disposal facility to treat the water leach purification residue which is created from rare-earth processing at its facility in Gebeng, Pahang.

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