KUANTAN: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has dismissed as ridiculous Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh's assertion that Lynas is allowed to stay due to the previous government being in too much debt.
"Her reason is the Samurai bonds.
"She said the previous government owed too much money so the Pakatan Harapan government now has to borrow RM7.3bil in Samurai bonds earlier this year.
"Therefore, our country is now forced and dominated by Japan that does not want Lynas to be stopped so as to prevent the manufacturing industry in Japan from being paralysed.
"It is as though our country has been sold to Japan and we have become their colony again. To me, this is a very ridiculous excuse, " Najib said in a Facebook posting on Sunday.
The Barisan Nasional advisory board chairman said no one forced Malaysia to borrow from Japan, and in his time as prime minister, his government never borrowed from the country.
He said it was during the time of the fourth prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Malaysia borrowed a lot from Japan to the point where the foreign debt soared when the value of yen grew.
"But the Barisan government during my time settled most of these debts, " said Najib.
Fuziah, a staunch critic of Lynas, said Japan was the absolute beneficiary of the rare earth products produced at the company's factory in Gebeng here.
In an open letter, Fuziah blamed the previous government for causing Malaysia's debt to rise so high that the Pakatan government was put in a tight spot.
Najib pointed out that the country's debt rose from RM686.8bil at the end of 2017 to RM807bil now with nearly RM120bil in the increase being from domestic loans made in ringgit.
He added that the previous Barisan government left a reserve of RM170bil in Petronas until Pakatan was able to "loot" RM82bil.
"If they are able to borrow RM120bil from domestic sources and plunder RM82bil from Petronas, why then (does) Pakatan has to borrow RM7.3bil from Japan?" he asked.
Najib also asked why Fuziah did not mention that the Pakatan government received RM175mil from Lynas recently.
"That is why Lynas' licence is extended and it's possible they will be allowed to dump their wastes in former mining ponds, " he said.
Fuziah's letter came after Najib called for her resignation as the Kuantan MP to take responsibility for the continued operations of the Lynas plant.
The Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department also took aim at Cabinet members who defended Lynas.
"I still believe that Lynas should not be allowed to continue operating and generate radioactive wastes that will have long-term negative effects.
"But there's a group of Cabinet members who were with Barisan when we fought against Lynas in the past, " said Fuziah, adding that these ministers continued being fooled by Lynas' tricks and failed to understand the real issue.