Group upset at Harapan gov't for Lynas' licence extension

Modified 31 Oct 2018, 10:08 am

Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL), an advocacy group against Lynas' rare earth processing plant in Kuantan, said it was disappointed with the Pakatan Harapan government's decision to extend the Australian company's residue storage licence.

SMSL claimed that Lynas was producing toxic waste but the company had denied this, stating that the byproduct it produced was safely managed and can be "returned to the environment" through radioactivity dilution and dispersion. 

"In any country with a responsible government, the refinery would have not been issued any licence to construct the plant, let alone generating so much waste contaminated with radioactive thorium, toxic heavy metals, chemicals and compounds which Lynas has not fully disclosed.

"Even China has better standard since 2010 than Malaysia in managing and regulating its rare earth industry.

"Many of us felt cheated for voting for the Harapan government thinking that it will make a real difference to make our future safer and cleaner," SMSL chairperson Tan Bun Teet said in a statement today.

Tan said the people of Kuantan had placed their hopes on Harapan to "correct the wrongs" of the previous BN government.

"Failing to act in the best interests of the people will render this government akin to the previous corrupt one and people will not forget how they have been double-crossed," he said.

The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry had clarified that the storage licence extension was only for four months, until Feb 15, 2019.

It said this was pending a review by an executive committee on Lynas' operations and residue storage.

Its minister Yeo Bee Yin had said that she was surprised that Lynas, in its announcement to the Australian stock exchange, did not mention the time period of the extension. 

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