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KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat today approved the motion to set up a Special Select Committee on the Lynas Advanced Material Plant to look into the project's safety standard as well as other issues which have attracted public attention.
The motion, tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, was approved after an intense debate which saw several opposition members staging a walkout.
Opposition members demanded that the government withdraw the temporary operating license (TOL) given to Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd to operate the rare earth plant Gebeng, Pahang, and for a three-month halt to all activities at the plant as conditions for them to support the motion.
Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam), when debating the motion, said the committee would have little value if the plant continued its operation before any study could be carried out.
Winding up the debate, Mohamed Nazri said the setting up of the PSC was not too late even though the TOL had been issued.
"All the issues raised (by opposition members) can now be addressed to the committee," he said.
The special panel comprises nine members of the Dewan Rakyat, namely five from Barisan Nasional (BN) (including a minister as the chairman), three from opposition parties and an independent member.
During the committee's three-month mandate, it will come up with a report and table it, along with related recommendations, to the Dewan Rakyat for approval.
However, in the event that the committee is unable to complete its task during the period, the matter will be brought back to the Dewan Rakyat for an extension of its mandate.
Mohamed Nazri said that members of parliament would be able to raise any issue regarding the project during the committee's public hearing sessions.
He also lashed out at the opposition for twisting the statements made by BN leaders.
"Nowhere in this motion did it mention that the select committee is to correct the facts about Lynas. If this is not mention in the motion, then there is no need to introduce other things in it; just read what is in the motion," he said.
Replying to Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff (PKR-Balik Pulau), Mohamed Nazri said the motion was not sub judice to the court case involving the project.
Last month, a group of 10 residents filed an application, seeking a certiorari order to quash the Atomic Energy Licensing Board's Jan 30 decision to issue the temporary licence to Lynas Malaysia.
"If there are parties who feel that the motion is sub judice to the case, it will be up to the parties concerned to make an application in court," he said. -- BERNAMA