Archive for March, 2012

31
Mar
12

Excessive radiation in Bukit Merah even after 18 years

Radiation around the Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Bukit Merah and its permanent waste dumping site at Bukit Kledang, both in Perak, is still at a hazardous level after the factory closed 18 years ago.

This disturbing finding was recorded by anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) during a fact-finding visit to Perak over the weekend.

According to SMSL chairperson Tan Bun Teet (right), his members armed with radiation reading devices were not allowed to enter the plant and dumping sites, but the radiation readings around both locations showed worrying results.

The reading near the plant site was around 0.19 microsievert per hour while the reading near the dumping site stood at about 0.2 microsievert per hour.

Both readings, if extrapolated to annual basis, are beyond the safe level of 1 milisievert per year as advised by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), claimed Tan.

The average background reading of Malaysia is 0.05 microsievert per hour.

“It is regrettable that within the 1.7km buffer zone of the dumping site, we still found fish breeding, animal and vegetable farming activities (left),” said Tan.

However, AELB earlier claimed that the plant site has been decontaminated with radiation levels dropping from 0.65 microsievert per hour to 0.17 microsievert per hour, which is safe for human activities.

The board also claimed that it had requested the authorities to move illegal farms and squatters living within the buffer zone around the waste dump site.

The ARE plant run by Japanese company Mitsubishi Chemicals from the 1980s to the early 1990s, is blamed for spreading radiation poisoning in Bukit Merah due to alleged poor management of radioactive waste generated from processing tin tailings to extract rare earth.

The aftermath of the factory’s operations has been one of the largest radioactive waste clean-ups in Asia, with a permanent dumping site set up at the foot of nearby Bukit Kledang.

…more
Excessive radiation in Bukit Merah even after 18 years
Mar 20, 2012 – Malaysiakini

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31
Mar
12

Cyanide pollution in Bukit Koman, Raub

Besides suffering from the unbearable stench overnight, villagers have also found yellow powdery spots around their neighbourhood in Bukit Koman, Raub, where gold-mining activities using cyanide, a hazardous chemical, started three years ago.

The unusual yellow dots have further escalated the fears of Bukit Koman villagers, who have been suffering skin, eyes and respiratory illnesses for the past few years.

According to the latest blog posting by Bukit Koman anti-cyanide committee member Liew Kou Yoong, 76, the yellow powdery dots were also found on his car, at the house gate and on the ground around the house.

Another villager, Chong Pei Har, found the yellow spots, measuring up to 8mm in diameter, on his car last Saturday afternoon.

According to the blog, since the commencement of the gold-mining activities, birds such as pigeons and crows, and lizards, and vegetables cultivated in the neighbourhood have been found dead.

Villagers suspect the unexplained deaths, the stench of herbicide during the night, and the illnesses, are the results of cyanide pollution.

Committee chairperson Wong Kin Hoong (right) told Malaysiakini that the yellow spots may be residue from emissions from the mining operations.

Depending on the wind direction, the yellow dots are usually spotted on the ground, house roofs, cars and house gates after it had rained, he said.

Although the phenomenon had happened in the past, Wong explained that it only caught the attention of the villagers recently

They had since notified their local representatives and the health department.

Air pollution detected by devices

“If we can confirm the powdery dots are from the gasses emitted from the mine, it may be helpful in our court case,” Wong said, adding that the villagers had sent the yellow powdery substance to the laboratory to determine its components and origin.

On March 21, 2008, four representatives of the residents including Wong, had filed a suit against the gold-mining activity, which is now before the courts.

…more
Villagers fear for their health over cyanide pollution
Mar 19, 2012 – Malaysiakini

31
Mar
12

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Who is responsible for the death of Cheah Kok Leong, the son of a worker at the rare earth plant in Bukit Merah who died last night?

Who is responsible for the pain and suffering his mother has to endure for 29 years taking care of a child born with congenital defects?

Who is responsible for the deaths of seven leukaemia victims in Bukit Merah?

Who is responsible for the severe birth defects, lead poisoning, congenital diseases and infant deaths in Bukit Merah?

Who is responsible for the radioactive contamination which requires a RM300 million cleanup that continues until today – 30 years later?

It is the BN govt!

It is the BN govt that allowed the rare earth plant to operate in Bukit Merah despite the people’s objections.

It is the BN govt that continues to give priority to business profits over the health of its citizens in allowing Lynas to go ahead despite the people’s objections!

It is the BN govt that is deaf to the people’s voices against these deadly rare earth plants.

STOP LYNAS NOW! STOP BN NOW!

Stop Lynas! Stop BN!

31
Mar
12

Perak rare earth worker’s son dies, piles pressure on Lynas

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Cheah Kok Leong, the son of a worker at the Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Bukit Merah, Ipoh, died last night, 30 years after being born with congenital defects his mother blamed on radioactive exposure.

His mother, Lai Kwan, had claimed she was pregnant with Cheah when working at the plant which was shuttered in 1992 due to public pressure over claims of radiation poisoning.

File photo of people in Kuantan signing a banner protesting against the building of the Lynas rare earths plant in Gebeng.
Dr Jayabalan A. Thambyappa, a toxicologist who worked with Bukit Merah residents after they blamed the refinery for birth defects and eight leukaemia cases within five years, confirmed the death when contacted by The Malaysian Insider this morning.

Seven of the leukaemia victims in the community of 11,000 have also died.

But radiation regulator Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has said it is unlikely that Lai’s child was born mentally retarded because of her exposure to radiation as nerve tissue is the most resistant to radiation.

Although there is no concrete proof that the plant, which is still undergoing a RM300 million cleanup exercise, contributed to Cheah’s condition, his death will likely add fuel to protests against another rare earths plant being built in Kuantan.

Lynas Corp has insisted its RM2.3 billion plant is safe with only low-level radiation waste being produced that the Australian miner says it will recycle into commercial products.

The project was on course for approval until the New York Times highlighted it a year ago, using the ARE plant as a cautionary tale.

The newspaper’s March 9, 2011 edition zeroed in on Lai’s story of how she decided to take up a better-paying job in the refinery.

…more
Perak rare earth worker’s son dies, piles pressure on Lynas
March 30, 2012 – TMI

30
Mar
12

Anwar Ibrahim: Rapat Rakyat Kuala Selangor (Video)

 

30
Mar
12

BR1M=BN’S money politics

A meagre RM500 packaged under the guise of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) might not do the trick in influencing the country’s voters to sway in favour of Barisan Nasional. The alm was nothing more than a trickery, conceived by the federal government to make sure the people’s nambikei or trust is bought at the cheapest price possible.

To hypothesise that the BN government is prihatin or sensitive towards the high cost of living plaguing the rakyat would be wrong; if BN was bona fide in its concern, its chairman and Prime Minister Najb Tun Razak would have more prudent with his monthly electricity and water bills, both amounting to RM160,000 and RM66,000 respectively.

Likewise, if Najib was sincere in wanting to assist the people, he would not have used money from the national purse to finance his daughter’s engagement ceremonies, as claimed by opposition PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli.

Did the RM500 aid really reach deserving hands or was it something of a “bonus” given out to just about anyone who had filled up the application form correctly?

Or was the BR1M a political gimmick to pressure the rakyat into voting for BN in the coming general election? Some of the recipients who turned up to collect their vouchers were allegedly shown pictures of opposition party DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and that of Najib and asked whom they would support in the 13th general election. Does this reflect sincerity on the part of the federal government in helping the rakyat?

Maybe BN was hoping to “use” the BR1M as its trump card to secure hope of making an impressive comeback in the next polls. But looking at the premier’s “breach of trust” as far as public funds go, there is no reason for recipients of the BR1M to accord heartfelt gratitude to BN.

Clearly, the keikhlasan or sincerity behind the RM500 alm is missing. The BR1M is being used as an ammunition by the BN government to bring down its enemy, Pakatan Rakyat.

…more
BR1M=BN’S money politics
Jeswan Kaur
March 19, 2012

30
Mar
12

PAS questions FGVH profit figures

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — PAS doubts FELDA Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGVH) announced profit figures, as the Islamist party continued hounding Putrajaya over the impending listing of the plantation outfit.

Its vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said today deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan told Parliament last week that FGVH’s profits before tax amounted to RM203 million in 2009 and RM300 million in 2010.

“We have documents to challenge these figures. We want specific figures.

“We seriously doubt FELDA’s performance,” the Kubang Kerian MP told reporters here.

Salahuddin said he would give Ahmad three days to furnish Parliament with the necessary financial details.

“We want details of FGVH’s investments, domestic and abroad,” he added.

The FGVH listing, first mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his Budget 2012 speech, will see the loss-making unit take control of assets now under the FELDA Investment Co-operative (KPF).

Last month, eight FELDA settlers won a temporary court order blocking transfer of shares from KPF to FGVH, a crucial step in the government’s plan to list the plantation firm unit.

But Putrajaya said last week it will push ahead with the proposed listing in June, with or without the 51 per cent stake in commercial arm FELDA Holdings held by settlers.

Ahmad said in a press conference this was because the government wished to capitalise on high crude palm oil (CPO) prices.

“If we cannot set the injunction aside or if they appeal, we still have to go ahead. We have to capitalise while CPO prices are high.

“That is the main factor for why we want to list in May, but now it will probably be in June. But we will go ahead without KPF,” he had said.

The government previously insisted it had backing from a majority of settlers, despite reports of widespread opposition.

FELDA announced that proceeds from the IPO will now be channelled into a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to ensure settlers benefit directly from the listing, after the court blocked the shares transfer.

But PKR charged that the SPV would only lower FGVH’s listing value, adding that the government’s decision was a direct snub to KPF.

…more
PAS questions FGVH profit figures, claims proof otherwise
March 19, 2012 – TMI




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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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