Monday, 13 February 2012

Malaysians Protest Against Australian Rare Earths Plant

                                 Lee Long Hui • Feb 5, 12 12:10PM

Some 2,000 residents from around Kuantan yesterday descended on Teluk Cempedak beach in a protest against the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and mining company Lynas.

The protest comes three days after the AELB granted a temporary operations licence (TOL) for the RM700 million Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng, Kuantan.

Starting as early as 5pm, the protestors, clad in their black and yellow anti-Lynas T-shirts, brought some 1,000 balloons in the same trademark colour as their T-shirts.

They were asked to scribble their wishes on pieces of paper before attaching them on the balloons.

Some of the messages read: "Stop Lynas!, Lynas radiation? No thanks!" while one was even attached a long banner reading: "Ridding of poison will make our nation happy and healthy," in Chinese calligraphy.

The protestors later tied the balloons to the ground for as a public display, before taking them down and handing them to visitors to the area in an effort to create awareness.

‘No police intervention'

Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) chairperson Tan Bun Teet, when contacted last night, said AELB's decision to ignore local sentiments by issuing a TOL to Lynas provoked a strong turnout at the protest.

"Tonight, there is a very large crowd, the whole beach is crowded with people," he said.

He adds that there were not enough balloons due to the higher than expected turnout.

The protest, Tan said, proceeded without incident and without the presence of any police or Kuantan City Council enforcement officers.

In past, in a similar protest, city council enforcement officers had dismantled the organisers' tents at the eleventh hour while police had demanded them to disperse.

‘Withdraw, or see you in court'

Tan said his group will on Wednesday, send a letter to the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Johnity Ongkili, demanding the AELB, which falls under its purview, withdraw the licence.

"We will give him seven days to reply, if there is not reply within this period, we will then file for a judicial review with the court," he said.

He added that the government had ignored the large number of criticisms during the public review period of Lynas' documents.

"Even though the TOL has been approved, there are still so many people are standing up against it.

"I hope the government can study and understand what the people are so upset about," he said.

Malaysians protest against Australian rare earths plant


1 comment:

  1. Please check New York Times site (

    There a lot of blunders in the plant construction!