PETALING JAYA: Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has an ulterior motive for supporting the Lynas rare earth project, claimed an NGO.
“Mahathir’s eldest son Mokhzani Mahathir, the CEO of Kencana Petroleum has a large stake in the Lynas rare earth refinery project, said the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL).
Its spokesperson, Steven Hang, said: “Kencana Torsco Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of Kencana Petroleum that won lucrative contracts from Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
“Kencana Torsco is involved the design, fabrication, lining, supply, installation, and commissioning of carbon steel and stainless steel tanks worth RM9.1 million for the project.”
Hang made this claims based on facts obtained from Bloomberg Businessweek, a US-based business website portal.
On Wednesday, Mahathir wrote in his blog that groups opposing the rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan had political interest in opposing the project.
“The Lynas contracts are a windfall for Mokhzani since his return to the corporate world in 2007. Back in the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, he was written off,” said Hang.
Hang also speculated that these lucrative contracts signaled a return of Mokhzani into the corporate world, and the timing of Mahathir’s article was intended to boost Lynas shares.
“Perhaps daddy decided it was time lend his weight to the deal to make sure Lynas is healthy enough so as boost shareholders’ confidence in their investments,” said Hang.
“It is no co-incidence that Mahathir decided to blog on Lynas to give it a leg up when its shares are tumbling by the day.”
Bank pulls out
Hang also revealed that HSBC bank Australian had sold off its shares in Lynas worth millions due to the negative publicity over the plant and to safeguard its (HSBC’s) reputation.
“It is hardly surprising, given the publicity generated in Malaysia and in Australia over the plant,” Hang said.
The group also brushed off Mahathir’s allegations that opponents to Lynas’s plant had a political agenda.
“The only agenda the people have is for a clean and safe environment to live in,” charged Hang.
He added that like-minded people should team up and exercise their democratic to reject hazardous projects against politicians with vested interest in Lynas.