Save Malaysia! Stop Lynas! Press statement
March 8th, 2013
This morning, three judges unanimously dismissed Lynas' appeal with costs of RM20,000.00 in its defamation proceeding against SMSL. Last July, Lynas failed in its attempt to gag SMSL through an injunction application. Lynas alleged that an open letter issued by SMSL which was endorsed by close to 50 civil society organisations to the Prime Minister was defamatory. Subsequently, SMSL lawyer succeeded in getting the court to transfer the case to be heard in Kuantan which led to the Lynas appeal.
Mr Tan Bun Teet, a spokesperson for SMSL, a Kuantan resident and a defendant named in the defamation suit said “In the first place, by taking up a defamation action against a citizen group such as SMSL, Lynas’ is showing itself up the kind of corporation it really is. We raise issues concerning the Lynas rare earth project with our Prime Minister because we are concerned for our family and our future. Lynas would not be able to sue us this way in Australia and yet it is taking advantage of Malaysia’ weak civil rights law to try to gag us.”
The judges ruled that the High Court judge was correct in deciding to transfer the case to the Kuantan High Court because it is an appropriate forum for the case. The Judges were:-
Justice Hishammuddin Yunus
Justice Abd Aziz Rahim, and
Justice Mohd Ariff Yusof
Haji Ismail Abu Bakar, another defendant named in the Lynas suit and a Kuantan resident explained, “I speak out because many rakyat (citizens) who will be directly and most immediately affected by Lynas’ pollution are at no liberty to speak out or to voice their concerns. They may lose their livelihoods and our health may suffer severely. We have never been consulted about this project. Lynas’ gag action only strengthened my determination to keep fighting.”
In January, reputable Germany’s Oeko Institute released a detailed scientific evaluation of the Malaysian Lynas rare earth refinery plant and found several very serious deficiencies which should have been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Malaysian regulators the Department of Environment and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB). Instead, approval was given to the project and an operating licence issued which will lead to dire consequences to the local community and future generations:
“These agencies which are supposedly set up to protect the public and the environment have failed us. We the affected citizens have no choice but to pick up the pieces and to fight for our future through legitimate means and way. We have said it many times, we will fight till the end to Stop Lynas.” Concluded Mr Tan.