MARCH 17 — Somebody in the government thinks he is pretty smart by announcing the setting-up of a parliamentary select committee on Lynas’s rare earth plant in Gebeng.
This is a familiar tactic by the Najib government. When they are caught in a pickle, they scramble for a way out. And what is really shocking is how quickly they change their tone from steadfast defence of a stance, policy or project to building consensus, all in the name of votes.
Last year, Najib Razak and his colleagues ridiculed and demonised Bersih 2.0 and the calls for free and fair elections. Then, when they realised that the rakyat were with Ambiga Sreenevasan and friends and that they were onto a hiding, they set up a parliamentary select committee.
Now, after months of defending the Lynas project and even taking over the role of spokesman and defenders of the Australian company, they are once again buckling. No less than Najib vouched for Lynas, saying that the project was scientifically and factually safe.
I have no problem with a government that can stand up for its principles and defend unpopular policies, but how do Malaysians respect leaders who shiver and wilt at the slightest hint that they could lose some votes?
If the government did not have the resolve in the first place, why give Lynas a temporary operating licence even though the company has not put in place a system of waste management?
There is nothing more frustrating than a wishy-washy government. Not that Malaysians believe that much will come of this parliamentary committee; it is a public relations exercise since its findings will come out in three months while Lynas has a licence for a two-year trial run.
I stand corrected. There is something worse than a wishy-washy government: A wishy-washy government that is also devious.
* Ali Kadir reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.