Guan Eng: DAP’s failure to shut down Lynas proof party not kingmaker

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 11, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 11, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Finance Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng admitted today that his party did not succeed in convincing the prime minister to shut down Lynas Corp operations in Malaysia.

Yet, in the same breath, Lim said the failure debunked claims that DAP dominated Pakatan Harapan (PH), a retort against allegations made by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak who said the predominantly Chinese party is now the coalition’s “kingmaker”.

Lim claimed the Barisan Nasional (BN) adviser meant to stoke distrust between minorities and majority Malays, with the hope it would sow chaos and break the multi-racial bloc.

“With PAS and Umno stoking racial and religious hatred amongst the Malays and Muslims

whilst their MCA and MIC apologists doing likewise amongst non-Malays and

non-Muslims, they hope to create a perfect chaos to see the end of PH,” Lim said in a statement.

“A good example is former prime minister and BN National Advisor Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak alleging that DAP is now the kingmaker in PH, with DAP Ministers (who are non-Malays and non-Muslims) appointed causing escalating tension amongst the Malays. 

“Such lies by Najib is immediately exposed when DAP’s did not succeed in convincing the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to close down Lynas rare earth plant... yet Najib contradicts himself by asking so-called “kingmaker” DAP leaders to resign for failing to close down the Lynas rare earth plant?”

Lim’s DAP is feeling most of the heat from the backlash that stemmed from the new government’s decision to grant Lynas Corp a six-month extension. Many of its MPs won on the party’s promise to shut the Australian rare earth miner giant down.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently said his government has no option but to allow Lynas and its radioactive waste to remain in the country after the Australian government said it would block any effort to repatriate it back to its soil, prompting more protest.

Yesterday, hundreds of anti-Lynas activists turned up for a demonstration calling for PH lawmakers to resign over their failure to meet the party’s election promise. 

Environmentalists claimed the water purification leach residue produced by Lynas is highly toxic, and has piled up to dangerous levels over the years. The Australian firm has promised to build a permanent disposal facility and said it is now identifying a suitable location.

Lim said today DAP will continue to try and persuade the prime minister “to understand the genuine concerns of environmentalists.” 

At the same time, the minister cautioned the voters against playing into racially-divisive politics, which he blamed the Opposition for. Lim said Umno and PAS, along with MCA and MIC, are merely attempting to divert attention away from their own incompetence and corruption.

“Such racist and religious extremist stereotypes is typical of the opposition, when

they sing a different tune when facing non-Malays and non-Muslims,” he said.

“The fanciful dreams of PAS, Umno, MCA and MIC to regain power in the Federal government, through playing up racial hatred and religious fears, will not succeed when the PH government is committed to adopt a rational and moderate approach towards both nation-building and handling hot-button issues.”