Press statement of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
Lynas defamation court hearing postponed.
Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) Making Citizens Guinea Pigs
to Enrich Lynas Corporation and its shareholder
to Enrich Lynas Corporation and its shareholder
June 19, 2012
The case has been postponed to 19th July. Lynas has submitted more affidavits at the 11th hour and the judge was unable to reach a decision on its inter-parte injunction against SMSL.
Buses of protestors including individuals and NGOs supporters from Kuala Lumpur arrived early this morning at the KL High Court to show their solidarity with SMSL. Upon hearing the postponement of the hearing, the group later moved their peaceful protest to Parliament House to show their strong opposition to the Lynas campaign while waiting for the tabling of the Parliamentary Select Committee report on the Lynas rare earth plant.
|Speaking (center) was executive director of Pusat Komas, Mr Tan JoHann on behalf of various NGOs in Malaysia.|
Parliamentary Select Committee Report
As expected, the PSC has joined rank with the Atomic Energy Licensing Board and the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) to rubber stamp approval for Lynas to perform a dangerous experiment on our shore, using citizens as guinea pigs to enrich a foreign corporation and their shareholders, the majority of whom are also foreigners who pay no tax in Malaysia.
Mr Tan Bun Teet, a spokesperson for SMSL said “It is nothing more than hogwash by the Barisan Government desperately trying to justify the controversial project in a last ditch half-hearted effort to put on a show pretending to take on board citizens’ concerns.”
What is most intriguing about the PSC is the report started with pages of almost reasonable discussions with 31 recommendations, many of which addressed concerns raised by SMSL and our expert advisers.
However, the recommendations, warm and fuzzy though they may be, would be rendered useless and ineffective since the PSC in its summary on page 69 of the report concluded that Lynas should be issued the temporary operating licence so that its ore concentrate can be brought in for testing.
Citizens to become guinea pigs of Lynas’ experiment
“This is a dangerous and risky decision that will adversely affect the whole nation and our near neighbours. I am very worried for the kampong folks, the fishermen, the women especially those who support their family selling keropok, ikan masin and other homemade traditional seafood products. What will happen to the children who live nearby?” Commented Haji Ismail Abu Bakar, a Kuantan resident and a spokesperson for SMSL.
“They are already facing the hazards from the Gebeng Industrial estate which have never been investigated or studied. How much more pollution can they endured?” Added Haji Ismail.
An obvious issue completely missing from the PSC report is the sheer volumes of waste in each waste stream – air, water and solid. Lynas will be discharging 90,000 cubic metre of so-claimed treated waste gas; 500 to 700 tonnes of treated waste water - with traces of radioactive substances, chemicals and heavy metals and close to half a million tonnes of hazardous sludge made up of three different ‘solid’ waste one of which is radioactive.
A study of the mangrove plants in the Balok River showed high intake of lead and copper indicating that the river is already facing problems of heavy metal contamination. With the Lynas waste water discharge – no informed consumer will want to risk buying seafood obtained nearby the world’s largest rare earth plant from the locals. Likewise, the range of agriculture produce from the nearby area such as fruits and vegetables, poultry, birdnest, coconut and palm oil will risk getting a bad reputation for being contaminated with Lynas’ pollution. The Pahang beaches so famous and popular in Malaysia will be tainted by the Lynas plant.
Lynas is a reputational risk for Malaysia
“Seriously, who will want to holiday near the world’s largest rare earth refinery? Do we really think Club Med will keep operating when Lynas starts its operations?” Asked Mr Tan.
Lynas has no experience in the processing of rare earth or in managing its complex waste and pollution problems. There has as yet no best practice model of rare earth refinery in the world to date. China has only beginning to clean up decades of disastrous scale pollution from its rare earth industry. The Californian desert-based Mt Pass rare earth miner Molycorp is still piloting its US$500 million retro fitted zero-discharge processing plant. Yet in Malaysia, a totally inexperience new player in the rare earth processing industry dared to claim that its plant is safe, and in a peat mangrove swamp so close to an important mangrove area and the South China Sea!
Mr Tan remarked, “Each and every decision made by the Government or the Minister justified only by bias science and spin will only add to the fear, anxiety and anger of the community.”
Malaysia will be tainted with a reputation for fast-tracking hazardous and risky project at the expense of the environment, the population and even the local economy that has sustained the livelihoods of hundreds and thousands of people for decades.
The PSC has actually consciously noted the eleven recommendations made by the IAEA last June, the five conditions set by the AELB in its licensing approval back in January and the two recently added conditions set by the MOSTI in its letter to SMSL responding to the Ministerial Review.
The PSC has rightly recommended these conditions and requirements to be met and yet it has done nothing to advise the Government on the need to suspend the TOL in order for some of the pre-conditions and recommendations to be met first. All up, there are now 7 conditions and 42 recommendations made regarding the Lynas project.
“Once again, the Government has put the horse before the cart, giving the green light to Lynas to operate when many of the pre-conditions and recommendations that should have been fulfilled prior to its operations remained unmet. ” Commented Haji Ismail.
He also said, “If we allow Lynas to bring in the ore, we will have imported radioactive materials into our country permanently. The horse will have already bolted!”
Mr Tan concluded “The only course of action left to the community now is the court action. SMSL have already started working with expert witnesses and the legal team on this front. As soon as we have our cases together, we will lodge it with the court. We have planned for cases in Malaysia and in Australia.”