CAP: Nuclear plant decision lacks public feedback
September 24, 2010
“We recalled that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak has indicated in his 1 Malaysia blog following public outcry against adopting nuclear power plant that he would like to obtain public opinion on the matter,” he said in a statement today.
“Until today, we have yet to see any meaningful debate and genuine public consultation process by the government,” he added.
Najib’s Administration on Tuesday announced that the plan to build a nuclear plant was included as one of the 131 entry-point projects in his Economic Transformation Programme.
The plan was first mooted in June when government gave the nod to the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water to set up a 1,000 MW plant, costing RM10 billion, in the country.
Najib was reported to have said that nuclear energy was the only viable option towards meeting the country’s long-term energy needs.
The announcement made Malaysia the first country in South-east Asia region to announce plans for a nuclear power plant.
The announcement, however, received huge public outcry, following which the government gave its assurance that final decision on the proposal would only be made after public consultations.
Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water in July also guaranteed that final decision would be based on findings of the Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Plan slated to be completed in 2013.
Idris today questioned if the government’s decision was based on the findings as promised by the government. He said the public should be informed of the study’s findings if they were already available.
CAP research officer S. Mageswari said forums and debates organised by the Malaysian Nuclear Agency to garner public feedbacks were not “a neutral platform to seek public opinion”.
“We attended the public forums and it is to be noted that the participants and panelists of these events were primarily the staff of the [Malaysian Nuclear] agency and other relevant government departments,” she told The Malaysian Insider.
She said the government did not consider issues such has safety, health and the cost of the nuclear plant before making the decision.
“We don’t know where the money is coming from. It’s probably from foreign investment but the government has not really openly talked about this,” she said.
Commenting on TNB chief Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh’s remark that Malaysians should accept the proposal for a nuclear plant, Mageswari asked: “Why is TNB pushing for this project? Does it have any vested interest?”
Che Khalib said developed countries had started using nuclear energy and there was no reason why Malaysians could not be open about it.
He said Malaysians should assess the building of nuclear power plant objectively in meeting the rising power needs of the country in future.
Mageswari also pointed out that the government has not looked into other sources of renewable energy, namely solar energy.
“Energy efficiency and methods to provide cheaper source of energy was also not considered,” she said.