Sunday, 29 January 2012

Lynas' Weak Licence Application Full of Loopholes

Press statement of the joint press conference January 26, 2012
by Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) and Stop Lynas Coaltion(SLC) on
Lynas Malaysia rare earth refinery application for pre-operating licence

Today marked the final day for public comments on Lynas’ application for the pre-operating licence for its Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng.

Together with concerned citizens including representatives from the Pahang Bar Council and the Malaysian Medical Association who converged at the Pahang Secretariat Office, SMSL and SLC delivered a joint submission to MOSTI and the AELB urging the two authorities to reject Lynas’ application until a safer plan is produced.

Mr Tan Bun Teet, the  Chairperson of SMSL lamented,
“We are disappointed but not surprised by the very weak application presented by Lynas.  Most worrying of all is that Lynas’ proposed waste management plan is full of holes and is totally unsafe.  Under no circumstance should the Malaysian Government issues the licence.”

Lynas proposed to turn its waste into commercial gypsum and fertiliser enhancer.  If accepted, this plan will result in hazardous and radioactive substances being scattered into residential houses, offices, farms and plantations.

“The Government must enforce its own law to make sure Lynas carry out a detailed environmental impact assessment.  Given the high population density, a social impact assessment should also be carried out before considering any further application for licence by Lynas for the LAMP.  Both of these documents when done should be easily accessible to the public with adequate time to comment and scrutinise.” Said Andansura Rabu the spokesperson and chairperson of the Stop Lynas Coalition and a resident of Balok, the town closest to the LAMP.

The towns and villages along the coast from Kuantan to Kemaman consist mainly of traditional fishing communities.  Hundreds of families rely on the fishing industry for their livelihoods.  Contaminated water from the Lynas plant will be discharged into the Balok River which drains into the South China Sea risking serious pollution of these important fishing grounds and tourism hotspots.

Tourism is a growing industry along the east coast.  The prestigious world-class Club Med resort is only about 15km north of the LAMP.

“If the Government issues the licence without a proper detailed EIA and a social impact study, the local economy and the health of citizens will be severely affected.  Besides, who will want to holiday near a massive toxic plant and swim in the sea contaminated with rare earth pollution?” Added Mr Tan.

SMSL and SLC reiterated their stance to the Government that both groups will do everything possible to ensure there is a safe and clean future for Malaysia.

SMSL and SLC have raise funds from the public to explore legal avenues so that legal actions can be taken if Lynas is allowed to operate despite its unsafe waste management strategy.

“We hope the Government will seriously consider the comments and suggestions presented through the submissions.  Otherwise, we will have no choice but to take the matter to the court.” Concluded Mr Tan and Mr Rabu.

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