By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 7.6.1984:
Call on Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to respect the views of the people of Papan and reconsider the radioactive waste dumping ground project
The announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, that the government would go ahead with the construction of the radioactive waste dumping ground in Papan, Perak, is most shocking, especially as the people of Papan and the surrounding regions have made clear their opposition to the project on the grounds of health and welfare of the people in the region, as well as for future generations.
I call on Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir not to ride roughshod over the objections of the people. He should set a good example by respecting the views, fears and feelings of the people of Papan and reconsider the radioactive waste dumping ground project.
Those of who are pushing for the implementation of the radio-active waste dump project in Papan should consider what would be their position if they had been Papan residents instead, exposed to long-term radioactive effects and hazards.
The authorities concerned have been at fault in not consulting the people of Papan before pushing ahead with the radioactive waste dump project, and must answer three questions on the dump:
1. If the authorities are so sure that the radioactive waste dump proposed for Papan is so safe and harmless, why it is unable to marshall a strong and irrebutable case to convince the people of Papan? Why are the authorities so shy at meeting the people of Papan with all the scientists and experts are not sure of the matter, except the political leaders concerned?
2. If the proposed radio-active waste dump for Papan is so safe and harmless as the authorities want the people to believe, it is so difficult to relocate the side to another place, where there is less public objection for being more remote from population centers and water supply resources?
3. Thirdly, the authorities should explain why it abandoned the original site for the radioactive dump in Parit, when there was local objection, and yet refused to budge in Papan’s case? Is it because the authorities in’ it feels that it is easier to deal with Papan as it is represented by the MCA, while Parit is represented by UMNO?
The government should not proceed with the Papan radioactive waste dump project unless and until it could convince the people in Papan and the surrounding areas that it is indeed safe and harmless.