Monday, March 14, 2011

Papan-Bukit Merah Radioactive Controversy


By :  Choo Sing Chye


Why the people of  Papan, Bukit Merah and Menglembu protested  against Asian Rare Earth, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical?


In the early years of 1984, the people were made to believe that the dumpsite was of good quality and ARE was expected to monitor the disposal of the radioactive waste. 


This was a big let down.   The quality of the trenches were overwhelmingly bad.  The disposal of the radioactive waste was equally as appalling. 


There was little or worst, no supervision at all for the waste disposal and the building of the trenches.  The contractors were left to their own devises as to the course of action to be taken.  Hence poor quality trenches were built and illegal dumping of the radioactive waste became a common practice.   


In 1984, the cost of building one trench was only RM 250 thousand.  ARE planned to build 72 trenches costing a total of RM 18 million.  This cost was minuscule compared to the RM 303 million present cleanup and building of the dumpsite.


Thus, It makes little sense to think that the government and Mitsubishi Chemical are doing the best for the people  of Bukit Merah.  


Could it be a sudden rise of cancer cases that prompted this massive cleanup?  Who knows?


All along they thought the people who dissent are trouble makers and at the height of this controversy, the government insisted of labelling  them as such.


But today who is right?  The People or Mitsubishi Chemical? 


Definitely the People!  


They have fought for their rights as citizens of this country to live in peace and to live in a clean environment like everyone else. 
The freedom to peacefully dissent  against the backdrop of this controversy without being haul up by the authorities is part and parcel of a democratic institution .







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