‘Opposition’s disinformation helped it in GE13’
K U A N TA N : The opposition spreading disinformation on the Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng helped the then Pakatan Rakyat pact secure more votes in the 13th General Election (GE13) in 2013.
Pahang Umno deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said the opposition spread disinformation based on assumptions about the plant, which caused fear among voters.
He said the widespread disinformation worked as many people, especially in Kuantan, turned against the rare earth refinery and even helped
PKR’s Fuziah Salleh retain her Kuantan parliamentary seat, which she first won in 2008.
On the May 5 polls in 2013, Fuziah succeeded in holding on to the seat with a 4,515 majority over Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Mohamed Suffian Awang, then Kuantan Umno chief.
Speaking about his experience on the campaign trail in the state, Sharkar recalled encountering many voters who raised the issue of Lynas’s safety.
“They believed that the plant was emitting radiation and that it was similar to a nuclear plant.
“Five years on, nothing have happened (in terms of radiation sickness and other radiation-related negative effects),” he said yesterday, adding that the plant did not even “explode”, which was another allegation spread by certain quarters.
Sharkar said until today, no resident in the vicinity of the plant sold their property out of fear of the purported radiation leak.
“In fact, property prices, in some cases, have gone up from RM200,000 (per property) to RM500,000. Nobody is moving away,” he said.
Sharkar, who is also Lanchang assemblyman, said it was important for voters to wise up to the opposition’s tactics.
Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin