One thing to be said in favour of the controversial Lynas rare-earth minerals refinery in Pahang is that it is proving instrumental in helping further expose the Umno/BN government as nothing but a money-mining operation.
Because it appears to be inspiring an awareness that countless stagnant, toxic tin-mining pools, poisoned waterways, Bukit Merah, Raub and other environmental execrations have apparently never done: that the money-grubbing ruling regime cares nothing about the people’s well-being.
I’m well aware that some opponents of the Lynas operation blame not their government, but Australia, the Australian people, or even me personally as an Australian for location of the Lynas plant in Malaysia.
And, as misguided as these accusations are, I can certainly see where they’re coming from. As a nation we Australians have a long history of mining and an enduring love-hate relationship with miners and mining companies.
After all, our first burst of national prosperity came from the so-called ‘gold-rush’ of 150 years ago, and our present-day economy is heavily dependent on the excavation and export of coal, iron ore, bauxite and other products of the mining industry.
But, paradoxically, despite benefitting so materially from the selling-off of our native soil by the shipload, many Australians have also become resentful at how little mining companies are prepared to pay for what they extract from our country, and the damage that they can do in the process.
Thus a conflict is constantly raging in Australia between the forces of environmentalism and economic nationalism on the one hand, and mining and capitalism-at-all-costs on the other, for the hearts and minds of the voting public.
The tide of fortune in this fray has recently turned in favour of the former faction, with the passing of a federal Bill that confronts mining companies with a new tax on their takings.
Some mining magnates have been counter-attacking by investing a few million of their allegedly hard-earned and richly-deserved fortunes in media companies in hopes of re-shaping public opinion in their favour.
And as always, of course, there’s the threat of their taking their activities, especially the dirtier and less-desirable ones like rare-earth minerals processing plants, offshore.
But only, of course, to countries whose governments tolerate or outright welcome such polluting and even people-poisoning operations, presumably for the money it puts in their nations’ coffers, or better yet in their own and their cronies’ pockets.
Which brings us to the proposition that the Lynas LAMP ended-up in Malaysia not through any specific anti-Malaysian intent on the part of Australia or the Australian people, let alone me personally as an Australian, but because Malaysia happens to be reasonably handy, and its ruling regime is the pits.
In fact, when it comes to shafting Malaysia and the Malaysian people, with its “what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine and never mind complaining” philosphy, Umno/BN puts your conventional marauding mining company to shame.
Extracting untold billions from the nation’s sole source of significant underground wealth, Petronas, and gouging countless more billions from Malaysia’s richest natural resource, its people.
In short, the Umno/BN regime regards Malaysia as its private goldmine, minting money hand-over-fist by treating the Malaysian people, especially those they pretend to respect and protect as ‘sons of the soil’, like dirt.
And, like mine overseers of old, or owners and managers of mines today in such workers’ hell-holes as China and Africa, Umno/BN even contrives, through its monopoly of Malaysia’s media, judiciary and police, to keep its toiling minions in the dark.
Thanks to the illumination of the internet, however, more and more Malaysians are escaping the tunnel-vision so long imposed on them by Umno/BN and its paid liars in the ‘mainstream’ media, and starting to see the light.
So that the regime’s attempts to keep mining the traditional credulity of the populace are increasingly seen as yielding not nuggets of truth, but fool’s gold that only an idiot would buy.
For example, the “I help you, you help me” mantra of the minor-league conman posing as a Prime Minister, Najib Razak, are interpreted by more and more Malaysians as actually meaning “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine to give a morsel of back to you if I must.”
His recent declaration that “the BN government will not make any promise which cannot be delivered,” only served to remind most of his national audience that the BN government, especially under Najib’s own premiership, has never delivered on a single one of its numerous promises, from “Zero tolerance of corruption” to the repeal of laws like the Internal Security Act and Printing, Presses and Publications Act or reform of the nation’s notoriously BN-biased electoral system.
In fact large sectors of the Malaysian electorate remain so unconvinced by Najib’s denial of his involvement in the Scorpene submarines scandal and the associated murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu that they no longer believe a word he says about anything.
Especially when his utterances are so often in defence of the indefensible, as in his refusal to hold a tribunal to probe persuasive allegations of collusion with organised crime brought by former senior police against Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and ex-inspector-general of police, Musa Hassan, and his mindless support of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, widely suspected of involvement in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal.
And there are so many other Umno/BN-related scandals that Najib and his government persist in showing no inclination whatever to resolve, from the RM12-billion PKFZ fiasco to the deaths of Altantuya Shaariibuu, Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan Ananthan and countless others at the hands of their enforcers that they face a veritable minefield – in both senses of the word – on their path to the next general election.
But apparently they won’t or can’t change. So every day they dig themselves deeper towards the inevitable collapse of their money-mining operation, and the Malaysian people’s rightful reclamation of their beloved country and its riches as their own.