Going nuclear: ‘Get public support first’

By G Vinod, Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago today urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to hold a public debate and secure a national mandate before building a nuclear power plant as part of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

“In May this year, Najib had said that a ‘comprehensive study’ will be done before embarking on the nuclear energy project.

“Following public outcry, he then said he would get the views of experts and the public… However, to date there had not been any meaningful debate or genuine public consultation by the government,” said the DAP parliamentarian.

However, the nuclear energy issue cropped up again under the ETP and Santiago queried why the nuclear energy programme was included as one of the 131 entry-point projects under ETP, as the government had not received any public feedback.

“If the federal government had embarked on a nuclear programme, then where is the ‘comprehensive study’ that backed this decision?”asked Santiago.

He expressed concern over the matter, saying despite public opposition and the presence of cheaper, safer, and more efficient energy alternatives, the government is still considering the nuclear option.

“Are there vested interests behind the nuclear power plant project?” he asked.

Alternative sources

Santiago recalled that Najib had said that all other alternative energy sources, such as from biomass and wind energy, will be considered as well.

“It is worrying that in the ‘lab’ responsible for developing ETP energy proposals, nuclear agencies were represented while the Malaysian solar industry players were not invited to participate.