Malaysia cannot kick Lynas out

by BERNAMA/ pic by BLOOMBERG

MALAYSIA cannot force Lynas Corp Ltd to leave the country after having invited the Australian rare earth minerals mining company to invest, just because some people do not want to accept the expert studies, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir said Lynas had invested more than RM1 billion on its operations in Malaysia, but the processing of the rare earth minerals is said to produce radioactive waste.

He said expert studies indicate that it is “a very low-level” radioactive waste and not hazardous to health and he believes there is a way to further reduce the low-level radioactivity.

“We invite them (to invest) and then we kick them out. Others will say the country made a promise, but when there is a problem, we kick them out…we cannot do that,” he told reporters when concluding his two-day visit to Fukuoka, Japan yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said foreign investors were watching the government’s action on Lynas.

“If we chase out Lynas, the others (foreign investors) will not come (to Malaysia). Because there are some (investors) whom we do not like…we ask them (investors) to leave. Who (investors) would want to come? They must have certainty,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said if the radio- active waste was dangerous, the workers in Lynas (M) Sdn Bhd, made up of about 600 local engineers, will fall sick.

“The report was made by experts, but there are quarters who do not accept the experts’ decision. This poses a problem if we ask the experts to make the study, but we reject it. What is the purpose of asking the experts to make the study,” he said.

In addition to losing the investment, 600 local workers would also lose their jobs if Lynas were to be closed, he said.

“The 600 workers there are our people, they are not afraid, they ask (the operations) to be continued,” he said.