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Harapan gov't must put its foot down on toxic wastes

LETTER | We, the undersigned NGOs and concerned individuals call on the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his cabinet, especially the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Climate Change (MESTECC) Yeo Bee Yin to:

• Suspend Lynas’ operating licence.

• Reject Lynas’ application to turn its current waste storage site into a prescribed premise for its massive amount of scheduled waste.

• Ensure that Lynas and/or its new owner take active steps to remove its toxic radioactive waste from Malaysia by the September deadline and thoroughly clean up its contaminated groundwater and soil.

• Never ever to allow any of Lynas’ toxic waste to remain in Malaysia to risk contamination.

• Ensure that the promised US$50 million deposit from Lynas is paid in full in cash and not in Lynas’ shares; and

• Hold the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and Department of Environment (DoE) responsible to ensure that they perform their mandated roles and duty with a high degree of professionalism and integrity in the interest of Malaysia and the rakyat.

We recognise and acknowledge that Malaysia needs foreign investment. It is therefore even more pertinent that we present our beloved country as a conducive place to responsible corporations/companies to do business and operate in, based on good governance plus a high level of professionalism in our dealings and integrity in the way we conduct businesses. 

Malaysia will be an attractive investment destination if our government upholds the law and restores order to create a fair and equal playing field for all. The Pakatan Harapan government has the power to make this happen.

The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change's decision requiring Lynas to remove its radioactive waste is merely to hold Lynas accountable to its own undertaking made in 2012 to the then BN government. 

By continuing to tolerate massive piles of wastes, we are sending the wrong signal that Malaysia is a Third World nation desperate for toxic trade and related industries. 

In so doing, Malaysia has essentially undermined and disadvantaged many other responsible businesses that have taken pride in abiding by our environmental law and regulations through genuine actions to protect our environment and public health.

As civil society groups and individuals, we, too, have been particularly patient and tolerant, giving the benefit of the doubt to the Harapan government which we helped put into power last May. We have largely held in good faith that Harapan ministers and responsible MPs from all parties would concertedly tackle toxic waste problems to protect Malaysia and the rakyat from radioactive and toxic hazards.

Many of us have contributed and campaigned for Harapan to be elected. We wish to remind all ministers and members of Parliament of the Harapan manifesto which your respective parties have signed before GE14. 

Janji/Promise 39 commits Harapan to "Balancing development with environmental protection". Therefore, development decisions from the Harapan cabinet must lead to the security and well-being of the people and our environment.

Lynas is from the Najib era and made possible only through generous loan packages from Japan. Malaysia should not be an easy target for Japan to wage its geopolitical technological war with China. Lynas has no place in Malaysia if Harapan is committed to pursuing a sustainable development for the future. 

Sustainable development as promised in the Harapan manifesto is only possible if the government upholds our own law to restores order.

Tun, we supported your leadership because we trust that you will act in Malaysia’s interests and that you will uphold your word to undo past mistakes. Lynas is a major mistake committed by the Najib regime. We now count on all of you whom we have voted into power to right this wrong and pave the way for Malaysia to pursue a new clean, safe and sustainable pathway of development.

The above is endorsed by:

1. Save Malaysia Stop Lynas 

2. Greenpeace Malaysia 

3. Himpunan Hijau 

4. Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (Peka) Malaysia 

5. Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) 

6. Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Sejahtera Malaysia (Grass Malaysia) 

7. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) 

8. Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) 

9. North-South Initiative

10. Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) 

11. SMSL Segamat 

12. Stop Lynas Coalition 

13. Gelombang Hijau 

14. Aliran Kesedaran Negara 

15. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak) 

16. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility 

17. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) 

18. BaramKini 

19. Mama Bersih 

20. OHMSI 

21. Citizens' Health Initiative 

22. Persatuan Penggerak Hijau 

23. Ban Cyanide Action Committee 

24. Himpunan Hijau Johor

25. Persatuan Penunggang Basikal Jelajah Bumi Hijau 

26. University of Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) 

27. Johor Yellow Flame (JYF) 

28. Engage 

29. Perak Green Pioneer 

30. Women Development Organisation of Malaysia 

31. The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women Section

32. Green Earth Society 

33. KRYSS 

34. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS) 

35. Beyond Borders 

36. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower) 

37. Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa) 

38. Malaysian Nature Society Pahang 

39. Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (Sawo) 

40. Pusat Komas 

41. To Earth With Love 

42. Tanah Dahai 

43. Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia 

44. Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM) 

45. Sustainable Development Network Malaysia (Susden Malaysia) 

46. Foreign Spouses Support Group 

47. Treat Every Environment Special (Trees) 

48. Sahabat Rakyat

49. Health Equity Initiatives 

50. Justice for Sisters

51. Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia 

52. Tenaganita 

53. Jaringan Orang Asal Semalaysia (Joas) 

54. Monsoons Malaysia 

55. Friends of Kota Damansara 

56. MyPJ 

57. Hakam 

58.The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) 

59. Student Unity Front 

60. Bersih Gold Coast 

61. Bersih Timor Leste

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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