MOU langkah pertama untuk perlombongan nadir bumi dan mesti diberhentikan (Malay/English)

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rare earth ore compared to a US nickel - Photograph: Wikipedia

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka Malaysia) menyeru kerajaan negeri Perak untuk tidak menjalankan sebarang aktiviti berkaitan dengan perlombongan nadir bumi di Perak.

Kami membantah sekeras-kerasnya MOU diantara kerajaan negeri dengan Chinalco GXNF Rare Earth Development untuk mengeksploitasi nadir bumi di Perak yang dimeterai baru-baru ini.

Kerajaan negeri mendakwa bahawa perjanjian ini akan tertumpu kepada penyelidikan untuk mengenalpasti nadir bumi di Perak dan tiada perlombonga n akan dijalankan. Tetapi hakikatnya, tiada sebab untuk mengenalpasti deposit nadir bumi melainkan terdapat niat untuk menjalankan aktiviti perlombongan.

Syarat dan butiran yang terkandung dalam MOU masih tidak didedahkan kepada orang ramai, dan mungkin mengandungi syarat dimana perlombongan akan dijalankan sekiranya deposit nadir bumi yang menguntungkan dikenalpasti.

Kami juga ingin menyatakan kekecewaan kami terhadap sikap Menteri Air, Tanah dan Sumber Asli Dr Xavier Jayakumar yang tertumpu kepada keuntungan ekonomi dan menyokong inisiatif yang berpotensi untuk merosakkan alam sekitar. Beliau sepatutnya menekankan pemuliharaan dan kemampatan sumber asli negara kita.

Dr Xavier Jayakumar telah gagal untuk memahami bahawa perlombongan tidak berkait sama sekali dengan ‘kemampatan’ – perlombongan adalah exploitasi sumber asli untuk keuntungan ekonomik. Kenyataan yang dikeluarkan oleh kementerian beliau bertarikh 16 November 2019 menyatakan bahawa “pelbagai usaha telah digerakkan untuk merealisasikan potensi sumber-sumber mineral supaya menjadi salah satu sumber ekonomi baharu negara”.

Kenyataan itu juga menyuarakan hasrat supaya “perjanjian diantara kedua-dua pihak juga dipercayai mampu membuka mata kerajaan­ kerajaan negeri lain dalam menyedari tentang kewujudan sumber mineral yang terdapat di negeri masing-masing”.

Bagaimanakah kerajaan negeri Perak boleh mendakwa bahawa MOU yang dimeteraikan bukannya langkah pertama untuk menjalankan perlombongan nadir bumi secara kommersial memandangkan kenyataan sebegini dari menteri tersebut?

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Kami percaya MOU ini akan membuka pintu dan memberi ruang kepada perlombongan nadir bumi komersial secara besar-besaran di Perak. Sekiranya penerokaan mendedahkan deposit nadir bumi yang mempunyai nilai ekonomi yang besar, kerajaan negeri tidak akan teragak-agak untuk memulakan perlombongan komersial, dan kemungkinan besar mengguna kan MOU dan syaratnya sebagai justifikasi.

Justeru itu, kami tidak mempunyai sebarang pilihan tetapi untuk menuntut kerajaa negeri Perak supaya memberhentikan dan tidak memulakan sebarang aktiviti berkaitan dengan exploitasi nadir bumi di Perak.

Kami juga menyeru bahawa kandungan MOU didedahkan kepada orang ramai, bersama dengan sebarang syarat yang berkaitan.

Kerajaan negeri Perak tidak boleh dipercayai sewenang-wenangnya kerana ia telah berulang-kali mengeksplotasi sumber asli Perak dan membebankan rakyat dan alam sekitar.

Semua tindakan kerajaan negeri – terutamanya terhadap alam sekitar – mesti dipantau dengan teliti oleh badan-badan berkecuali untuk memastikan pihak berkuasa menjalankan tanggungjawab mereka dan tidak menyalahgunakan kuasa mereka untuk keuntungan mereka sendiri.

Puan Sri To’ Puan Datuk Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil ialah presiden Peka Malaysia.

English version

MoU first step to rare earth mining in Perak and must be stopped

Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka Malaysia) calls on the Perak state government to renounce any and all activities related to the exploitation of rare earths in the state.

We strongly object to the Perak state government’s recent MoU with Chinalco GX NF Rare Earth Development for the exploration of rare earths in the state.

The state has claimed the agreement will focus on research in identifying rare earths in the state and that the minerals will not be extracted. But there is no reason to identify rare earth deposits unless there is an intention to mine them.

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The conditions and details of the MoU have not been revealed to the public and could easily contain clauses where mining activities would proceed if the exploration identifies viable deposits.

We also express our disappointment in Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar for focusing on economic gain and supporting potentially environmentally damaging initiatives instead of emphasising conserving and sustaining our natural resources.

Dr Jayakumar has failed to understand that there is nothing ‘sustainable’ about mining – mining is the exploitation of natural resources for commercial gain.

In fact, the statement released by his ministry dated 16 November 2019 clearly states that there are various efforts being made to “realise the potential of mineral resources to become one of the new economic resources of the country”.

The statement also expresses a belief that “the MOU will be able to open other state governments’ eyes to the existence of the mineral resources in their states”.

How can the Perak state government claim that its MoU is not the first step in the commercial mining of rare earths in light of such a statement by the minister?

We believe this MoU is just a precursor to the full-scale mining of rare earths in the state. Should the exploration reveal rare earth deposits of considerable economic value, the state government will not hesitate to initiate mining activities on a commercial scale, most likely using this MoU and its conditions as justification for its actions.

We are left with no other option but to demand that the Perak state government publicly renounce any and all activities related to the exploitation of rare earths in the state.

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We also urge that the contents of the MoU be revealed to the public, along with any conditions attached to it.

The state government cannot be blindly trusted as it has repeatedly exploited the state’s natural resources at the expense of the rakyat and the environment.

All its actions – especially towards the environment – have to be closely monitored by independent bodies to ensure that those in power carry out their responsibilities entrusted to them and not misuse them for their own gain.

Puan Sri To’ Puan Datuk Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil is president of Peka Malaysia.

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