KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 ― Two Opposition MPs today questioned the government's sudden exploration of nuclear energy here when it said just four months ago that no such plans have been decided.
Klang MP Charles Santiago and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong, who advocated the pursuit of clean energy instead, noted that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Nancy Shukri said in November that concerns over Fukushima, Japan meant the Cabinet has not finalised policies in the area.
Fukushima remains a nuclear disaster area, nearly three years after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami brought the reactors at the nuclear power plant there to the brink of meltdown.
“How is this possible? In four months, you have acquired so much knowledge? In fact it says the word here is 'considerable base of knowledge'.
“That means you have acquired so much of knowledge in the past four months to make the first major decisive step in order to build the power plants in Malaysia, which will cost Malaysia something like RM23 billion. This was the value in 2015,” Santiago said.
On Tuesday, Nancy said the final report of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission Phase 1 will be tabled to the Cabinet by next week.
Bernama reported her as saying that the three-phase assessment, initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), concluded that Malaysia is thoroughly prepared and has developed a considerable base of knowledge to make an informed decision about introducing nuclear power.
She reportedly said that Malaysia has 30 days to respond to the recommendation made by the report that evaluates interested newcomer countries’ status and state-of-readiness in developing nuclear power programme.
Santiago today suggested that the sudden change was evidence that Putrajaya had previously kept such plans hidden from public knowledge.
Liew said moving towards nuclear energy was a wrong step, saying the country has avenues for renewable energy that were untapped or underutilised, such as solar power.
“We are a country full of sunshine, but we aren't doing very well in that aspect,” he added.