The government requires more information on Western Australia's reported refusal to accept radioactive waste from Lynas Malaysia's rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, says Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
“We need to discuss this with the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry,” she told reporters at the parliament building here today.
Yesterday, a local news portal reported Western Australia’s Minister of Mining, Petroleum, Energy and Industry Relations Bill Johnston as saying that Australia would not accept such waste back, despite acknowledging that the best means of disposal was to its place of origin.
Last month, Deputy Environment Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis disclosed that Minister Yeo Bee Yin sent a letter to Australia on Feb 26 for cooperation in ensuring that the waste from Lynas was returned to Western Australia.
The ministry wanted Australia to help find a way to facilitate the disposal of the water leach purification (WLP) residue, which was supposed to be sent to the country before September as part of the company's licensing requirements.
Besides WLP, the Lynas plant also produces non-radioactive neutralisation underflow (NUF). As of December 2018, WLP waste accumulated at the Lynas facility is 451,564 tonnes, while NUF waste measures 1.113 million tonnes.
Meanwhile, Wan Azizah said when asked about oversupply of food distributed to the homeless around the capital which inevitably go to waste, she called on the NGOs involved not to focus on one place to do charity.
"We do not want to encourage wastage during the fasting month or non-fasting months; it’s one of the issues we have to manage. That's why we have a food bank and do not want to waste.
“If possible, distribute to other places where it is needed. Don’t concentrate only in one place.
"Look for those in need..like in mosques and places where such food is not available,” she said.