Environmentallists, NGOs want Lynas’ licence suspended

By LYDIA NATHAN / Graphic By TMR

Environmental groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have urged the government to suspend Lynas Corp Ltds’ operating licence and for the firm to remove toxic radioactive waste produced in its Gebeng, Pahang, plant.

About 150 people from various groups had assembled in front of the Parliament yesterday to hand over a memorandum directed to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin and Cabinet members.

Greenpeace Malaysia campaigner Heng Kiah Chun said the government “should not allow itself to be deceived into believing that Lynas can find safe disposal options for its radioactive waste”.

“We appeal to the Malaysian government to listen to our demands to suspend Lynas’ operating licence and remove toxic waste from Malaysia,” Heng said.

The memorandum, among others, had outlined both short-term and long-term actions for the government to take on the issue.

Among the short-term actions listed included rejecting Lynas’ application to turn its current waste storage site into a prescribed premise to contain scheduled waste and ensure the promised RM205 million (US$50million) deposit from Lynas is paid in cash and not in shares.

The long-term actions included the suspension of Lynas’ licence, denying Lynas the possibility of leaving any toxic waste, and holding the Atomic Energy Licensing Board and the Department of Environment to task to ensure they perform their roles and duties.

Separately, Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd questioned the anti-Lynas groups’ motive, claiming the firm has been reduced as a political tool.

“We join with leading Malaysian and international scientists in asking, why Lynas? The science says Lynas is safe — why do a small number of anti-Lynas operatives continue to use our company as a political football,” Dr Ismail Bahari, Lynas Malaysia GM for radiation safety, regulations and compliance division said in a statement yesterday.

“Four separate scientific reviews have found our operations to be low risk and compliant with regulations, including the recent Pakatan Harapan government’s Scientific Review Committee.

“We are disappointed that despite the findings of these scientific reviews, unsupported assertions continue to be made by unqualified anti- Lynas groups,” he said.

He added that all assessments of Lynas operations should be based on scientific facts and evidence.

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