Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Meleka, Lim Kit Siang, on his visit to Papan on the radioactive waste dump on Sunday, 23.9.84 at 12.30 pm
Call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Modamed, to rescind the decision on a radioactive waste dump in Papan if the government and scientists could not convince the people of Papan of its safety
As a parliamentary democracy, where the government is elected by the people, the government must respect and not dismiss the views of the people as destructive, ignorant or motivated by malice.
The Papan radioactive waste dump issue has highlighted the need in Malaysia for government leaders to put into practice their claims that they are the people’s representatives, and are ‘servants’ of the people.
The people of Papan and in the surrounding areas have very valid grounds for odjecting to the siting of the Papan radioactive waste dump, for their own health and safety as well as that of future generations.
The indifference of the authorities, as well as their insensitivities, is a black mark on the government, and the way the dump was constructed, cracks in the wall which show their poor specifications and worknship, cannot enhance public confidence in the assurance of the authorities.
The DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir to accept the democratic principle of respecting the people’s views, and if the government could not convince the people of Papan of then safety of the radioactive waste dump site, to rescind the decision to authorize the construction of the radioactive waste dump in Papan. The blood petition is proof of the great seriousness of the people of Papan in opposing the dump site.
Four nuclear scientists are now reporting on the safety of the dump site, but no local nuclear scientists are involved in the study. Is there no local nuclear scientist who are qualified to make a study of the site as well?
There are various chapters of the history of the Papan radio-active waste dump which are still shrouded in mystery, as for instance, why the Parit site was abandoned to be replaced by the Papan site; the extent the Company, Asian Rare Earth Co., had influenced decision-maikng with regarding to the Papan dump site; the role of the various actors in the process leading to the decision on the Papan radioactive waste dump site.
There had been a tendency, during the five-month long protest against the radioactive waste dump site, for those in authority to suspect the opponents of the site as ‘trouble makers’. The government should realize that the people of Papan and the surrounding areas would prefer to be able to have the quiet of their daily lives, to look after their family and be with their friends, than to be tied down for months to protest against the radioactive waste dump. If there are trouble-makers, then they are the persons responsible fo rhte Papan radioactive dump site decision, which has brought the people of Papan no rest and peace for such a log time.
The DAP fully supports the people of Papan and the surrounding areas to continue their struggle to ensure that their lives and that of future generations are not poisoned by radioactive wastes dumped in their midst.