At least 13 ministers signed a pledge to shut down Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd's rare earth refinery when they were part of the opposition.
The signatures were canvassed during the Harvest of Hope for Malaysia campaign in 2012, which was widely supported by the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
The 13 ministers are:
- Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu (Amanah, signed when he was PAS deputy president)
- Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (DAP)
- Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali (PKR)
- Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PKR)
- Transport Minister Anthony Loke (DAP)
- Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad (Amanah, signed when he was a PAS member)
- Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (DAP)
- Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok (DAP)
- Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad (Amanah, signed when he was a PAS member)
- Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (DAP)
- Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Salahuddin Ayub (Amanah, signed when he was a PAS member)
- Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR)
- De facto Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa (Amanah, signed when he was a PAS member)
The three most notable faces of the three Pakatan component parties – Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Abdul Hadi Awang – also signed the pledge.
The cabinet recently decided to extend Lynas' current permit to operate its refinery by six months. It was originally set to expire on Sept 2.
This decision came with the condition that Lynas' "cracking and leaching facility" – which produces radioactive waste material – must be moved abroad. However, the company will have four years to do so.
Lynas will also need to construct a permanent disposal facility in Pahang to deal with the 580,000 tonnes of waste material currently stored within the refinery.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has repeatedly indicated that he was not in favour of shutting down the refinery due to the economic impact that would follow.