Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Malaysian nuclear programme lacks genuine public consultation

altThe Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is very disturbed to read that the government has already decided on the proposed nuclear energy programme as it is included as one of the 131 entry-point projects (ETP) of the Economic Transformation Programme unveiled to the public on Tuesday at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).

We recall that Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak has indicated in his 1Malaysia blog following public outcry against adopting nuclear power plant that he would like to obtain public opinion on the matter.

Until today, we have yet to see any meaningful debate or genuine public consultation process by the government.

We want to stress that the so-called public forum and debate that were largely organised by the Malaysian Nuclear Agency was not a neutral platform to seek public opinion.

It is to be noted that those events were primarily attended by the agency’s staff and government officials from the relevant departments and the discussion panelists were from these agencies.

It has to be pointed out that Malaysia Nuclear Agency, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and even the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water are parties with vested interests and an open agenda in support of nuclear power plant as shown by their public statements so far.

For example, the latest statement from TNB’s chief executive officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh while alluding to the fact that public acceptance is necessary for the proposed project, also argued that since developed countries are already adopting nuclear energy, there was no reason why Malaysians could not be open about it.

In July, Minister Datuk Peter Chin has said that the government will only make a final decision on nuclear energy after studying the findings of the Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Plan scheduled for completion in 2013.

CAP and SAM would like to know if the government’s decision is informed by these findings and if they are already available. If so, the Malaysian civil society and public would like to be informed. If not, why is there such a hurry to push ahead with the nuclear power plant?                                                
Letter to the Editor - 23 September 2010