Friday, 16 August 2019

Press statement

15th August 2019

Call to Action Against Pakatan Harapan’s Toxic U-turn on Lynas

Lynas is Tun’s Second Toxic Legacy for Malaysia


SMSL is appalled although not at all surprised by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Government’s betrayal by renewing Lynas’ operating licence. The Australian rare earth producer has failed to comply with its licence conditions and failed to comply with MESTECC’s decisions from last December.

Mr Tan expressed his disappointment, “Allowing Lynas to continue operating and generating more radioactive waste is a serious betrayal of Rakyat’s trust of the PH Government. This is a mega toxic U-turn from the pre-GE14 PH Manifesto. We shall burn it in public come Sunday!”

Responding to the announcement by AELB that Lynas’ license has been extended for another six months, SMSL Chairman, Mr Tan Bun Tee called on all concerned Malaysians to gather at Taman Gelora in Kuantan for a peaceful protest action from 7.00 to 10.00am.

“For eight years now, SMSL and supporters from all over Malaysia and overseas have been campaigning to stop the generation of toxic radioactive waste in Malaysia by Lynas. Cabinet’s decision works against Malaysia’s national interests. Those conditions were in the temporary operating licence since 2012. Lynas has never bothered to comply with them so what is the point?” He asked.

AELB has made the announcement that Lynas’ operating license has been extended for six months on conditions that a clear permanent disposal facility (PDF) plan be presented, and that the cracking and leaching processes that separates radionuclides from Lynas’ ore that leave radioactive waste behind be relocated away from Malaysia within 4 years from today.

“Lynas has already generated close to 600,000 tonnes of thorium waste to date. Lynas has essentially been given a free-hand to continue to generate even MORE toxic radioactive waste in Malaysia to pollute and contaminate our environment.” Legal Adviser for SMSL, Mr Hon Kai Ping retorted.

“We are also alarmed by the massive increase in the amount of WLP waste generated in less than a year – 130,000 tonnes, TWICE as much as the 64,000 tonnes per year approved in Lynas’ original blueprints. How can this be legal?” He added.

Although AELB has specified that the PDF must be of international standard, Malaysia’s weak regulatory regime and culture, tropical rainstorms that often lead to landslides and soil erosion present safety, reliability and technical challenges for any mega-physical structure such as a PDF. The massive amount of rainfalls alone would render Malaysia unsuitable for a radioactive PDF especially when Lynas’ radioactive thorium and uranium in Lynas’ waste have half-lives extending to billions of years – which means that they must not be left to expose to any living things especially humans. Most radioactive waste dumps are in dry desert environment in remote areas for this reason.

“We would like to remind the Government that any proposal for PDF must go through the detailed environmental impact assessment process, including efforts to allow for feedback and engagement with the public, especially for those living close to its proposed site.” Mr Hon said.

Transparency is a PH manifesto and effective public engagement has been emphasised by the IAEA in its assessment of Lynas previously.

“To ensure that Malaysia has a safe environment for now and for the future, we will continue to protest and seek support from international allies to call Lynas out as a dirty rare earth supplier to counter its greenwashing and marketing spin. We will also take legal actions against Lynas and the PH Government until Lynas’ toxic radioactive waste is removed from Malaysia.”Concluded Mr Tan.

For further comments, please contact:

· Mr Tan Bun Teet - Hp: +60 179 730 576

· Mr Hon Kai Ping - +60 112 544 7356

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