Friday, 6 January 2012

Groups Demanded Lynas a 14-Day-Extent for Such Review

Related Media Releases dated 5th Jan 2012 :
1) Kuantan MP : Lynas Speaks As If They Are in Cohort with the Malaysian Authorities
2) Consumer Assoc. of Penang(CAP) & Sahabat Alam Malaysia(SAM) : Lynas TOL Public Feedback Session a Joke
3) Australian Greens MP call on Lynas to come clean about the Controversial Refinary
Press statement of the joint press conference 6th Jan 2012
by Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) and Stop Lynas Coaltion(SLC) on
Lynas Malaysia rare earth refinery application for pre-operating licence

Money spent by Lynas Corp for weeks mass advertisement on facebook, twitter, blogs and local mainstream papers rather than going for the real, sincere and clean public consultation

Stop Lynas campaign groups sought greater transparency and vowed to seek a judicial review on the latest claimed public engagement of Lynas Malaysia.  The groups are appalled by the difficulties in gaining access to the Lynas’ pre-operating licence application documents and the ongoing lack of public consultation on the project.

Mr Tan Bun Teet, Chairperson of Safe Malaysia Stop Lynas said,

“The many restrictions and difficulties experienced by the public to gain access to the documents are unacceptable.  It is a total farce especially when Lynas Corporation claimed in its media statement in West Australian on the 3rd Jan 2012 that its application is now undergoing public consultation.”

Better public consultation is one of the eleven recommendations by the International Atomic Energy Agency which was agreed to by the Malaysian Government which sought its advice on the Lynas project.  Specifically, the AELB is to make information readily available to the public and more effectively involved the public in the licensing process.

However, the practice by the AELB and Lynas has proven otherwise. Lynas’ application was written in highly technical English out of reach of most Malaysians especially those who will be most directly affected in the Gebang and Balok areas as well as the rural communities living along the coast nearby.

If Lynas is sincere in consulting the public on the matter concerning the management of disposal of its radioactive waste, the documents should have been presented in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese. They should also be made readily available to the public be it in hard and soft copies.

The public viewing period for the hardcopy of the application is only for an hour per person for each viewing session for two weeks from 3rd to 17 of January.  This process lacks transparency and has not done anything to improve on the project’s community consultation and involvement.

Mr Andansura Rabu, the Chairperson of the Stop Lynas Coalition and a spokesperson for the local community-based Stoop Lynas group BADAR asked the Government to respect the rights of the community to make informed decision,

“MOSTI should extend the review duration to another 2 weeks at least since we are dealing with the world’s largest rare earth plant here., It is crucial for more people to review such an important application which will have an impact on their life and future.”

“By limiting the number of copies available and to keep the review time so short to understand such complex and bulking documents has already insulted concerned citizens of the greater Kuantan municipality.  I urge the Government not to ridicule the people this way“ added Mr Rabu.

SMSL and SLC hereby call upon Lynas Malaysia to show some respect to the people instead of lavishing its investors’ money in media advertising to promote Lynas rather than really engaging and consulting with community. The most basic thing Lynas could have done was to make the contents of its application in the public domain in accessible languages so that the public can gain access to it more readily.

Should Lynas Malaysia fail to put up the FULL content of these documents in the public domain for easy access, SMSL and SLC shall have no hesitation to file for a judicial review to force it to do so. We believe the management team of Lynas Malaysia will exercise their wisdom to promote goodwill and trust with the local population and be sensitive to the wishes of the stakeholders and to heed the IAEA recommendations!

            (From left) Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, SMSL Chairman Tan bun Teet, SLC Chairman Andansura Rabu

Background

Since the 3rd of Jan 2012, AELB has started to display to the public the two documents which Lynas has submitted to them in conjunction with their application for the pre-operations license . This was done with the expressed consent of Lynas Malaysia.

The public are invited to  review; read; criticize ;comment and give suggestions on what was contained in a 250-300- pages thick file ( about 4 inches thick ) from the 3rd Jan to the 17th Jan.2012.between 9am to 4pm excluding Saturdays and Sundays. The documents can only be reviewed  at any one time by only one person  and he or she is allowed into the room to read the documents for 1 hour.

On the first day, only one copy of the documents was made available for review to the public. When the anti-Lynas groups protested on this unreasonable arrangement, 3 copies of the documents were made available at the SUK Pahang starting the following day ; thus increasing the number of people who can review the document to 3 at any one time.

Being concerned citizens and the stakeholders in this controversial issue of  LAMP ,we have voluntarily and  actively participated in this exercise. We were most disappointed that there is such wanton and glaring  lack of care and consideration for the stakeholders in Kuantan!

From the letter by Lynas to AELB, it was revealed that Lynas has provided the latter with 20 copies of the documents . Lynas has also   imposed  various conditions on the public reviewing the documents like  handphones/laptops are prohibited from being carried into the room; persons reviewing cannot make any copies; AELB officer on duty to set a maximum time of review for each person etc…..

Kuantan has a population of 400,000 and they are all stakeholders in this issue. By imposing such  restrictions on  the public it will severely curtail and limit the number of people who can get a chance to review the documents. Imagine that in a single day going by most optimistic calculations, a maximum of  3 persons (at any one time) X 7 ( from 9 am to 4pm) can gain access to the documents. Multiply that by 10 days ( from the 3rd to 17th there are 4 weekends ) only a total of 210 people can get to review the documents.



Divide that by the total population in Kuantan  only 0.06% of the local population ever get the chance to be “CONSULTED”. May we ask is  Lynas Malaysia serious in its effort to consult the public here or is it just meant to be an exercise for a convenient spin to fool their investors in Australia?

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