Saturday 30 June 2012

Bukit Merah accident & Lynas incident

Toxic legacy in Malaysia rare-earths village

A woman S. Panchavarnam with grand children tells her story during an interview in Malaysia's northern Perak state. Photo courtesy: AFP
An evironmental activist and chairman of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas, Tan Bun Teet, shows reading on a radioactivity meter in front of a plot that housed Japanese rare-earths plant in Malaysia's northern Perak state. Photo courtesy: AFP

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Next Himpunan Hijau to be called by Lynas!

On June 24, thousands turned up  for Occupy Gebeng protest at the entrance of Gebeng Industrial  where Lynas is.

“The people will never retreat a single-step nor tolerate stagnancy. We will continue to push forward. Our second wave of people’s actions shall kick-off immediately!” said Wong Tack, chairperson of Himpunan Hijau.

The Himpunan Hijau steering committee has decided to kick start a Himpunan Hijau ‘BLOCKADE’ campaign straightaway. As we have promised, the people will not allow a single ounce of the Lynas’ ores to reach our shores. 

“We’ll bring together tens of thousands of people from across the nation to send the shipment of Lynas’ toxic ores back to Australia,” said Wong Tack.

A special task force has been formed to drive the ‘BLOCKADE’ campaign. This special task force will ensure that the nation will be ready on the day the Lynas’ ores are approaching our shores. This campaign will choke the Kuantan Port and paralyse the entire operation of the port. It will definitely cause serious adverse economic repercussions to the entire East Coast region. It is a choice to face a temporary short term economic pain or permanently letting the future of this town being buried in the darkness of radioactive pollutions. It is now up to the authorities to decide.

“The next Himpunan Hijau will be called by Lynas,” exclaimed Wong.

At a meeting last night, the Himpunan Hijau steering committee has given the task to organize the ‘BLOCKADE’ campaign to a highly charged second echelon of young local leaders. Ten young men and women have courageously stepped forward to spearhead this campaign. More will join in later to form a well represented and powerful task force. Active work will start immediately to build a strong alliance of environmental comrades nationwide.

The Himpunan Hijau steering committee strongly believes that the future of this country belongs to youth. This is the time for them to step forward to uphold the right to protect their future.

Said Wong Tack, “For more than a year, responsible Malaysians have came forward, himpunan after himpunan, in the most peaceful manner to request the authorities to respect their rights and listen to their voices.

“But up until now, the only response from the authorities were gimmicks after gimmicks, one stupid and illogical statement after another. They continued to derail the issue, mislead, suppress, ignore and belittle the people’s intelligence.”

At this moment, the anger is boiling within the community.

“We, as the leaders of Himpunan Hijau have done our very best to contain the anger within the masses. We foresee that anger will be uncontrollable when the ores reach our shores,” concluded Wong Tack.

The authorities and Lynas should bear the whole responsibility on all eventualities due to their actions or inactions.

Occupy Gebeng was a "colourful" anti Lynas event

Thursday 21 June 2012

One door is closed, others have opened up - More ways to Stop Lynas

Press statement of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
One door is closed, others have opened up - More ways to Stop Lynas
Thursday June 21st, 2012
The green light given by the Parliament to issue Lynas with the temporary operating licence is the last straw on the camel’s back for SMSL in trying to engage constructively with the Government based on facts and science.  This follows from the tabling of the findings by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Tuesday 19th June.
SMSL through our legal team and independent experts have presented hard facts and the latest scientific and engineering information through the ministerial appeal process and has offered the PSC the same. We got no-where with the Government despite our efforts.
Mr Tan Bun Teet, the spokesperson for SMSL lamented “We had given the Government the benefits of the doubt hoping that the Government will act in the interest of the people.  ”
“Our experts are some of the most outstanding and qualified professionals from the top universities in the United States of America, Unite Kingdom and Australia.  They have volunteered their expert opinions purely from their professional ethics and their concern of the impact of the Lynas rare earth project.”
“We now know that this Government has yet again failed in its duty of care to protect citizens and the country from a mere foreign profit-seeking interest.”
With the Ministerial appeal and the PSC outcome known, SMSL have moved onto the next course of actions to stop the Lynas rare earth plant.
“We share the anguish, the worries and the anger of Kuantan residents over the Government’s decision for we are affected locals ourselves.  The battle to Stop Lynas is far from over. The way is now clear for a different approach to stop this risky project.” Explained Mr Tan.
SMSL is currently preparing for a series of actions in respond to the Government’s poor decision on the Lynas rare earth refinery project:
The legal team is putting together a strong case for a judicial review through the court to appeal against the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) decision in the next week or so.
·         The legal team is continuing to build a strong case of defence against Lynas’ defamation suit against SMSL for the 19thJuly hearing. This is an opportunity to highlight Lynas’ own weaknesses and limitation in handling the hazardous and complex rare earth refinery project to the world;
·         A family Day on the 8th July to celebrate traditional seafood delicacies from the kampong at Teluk Cempedak to highlight what are at stake for our food culture and for the people in the kampong near the Lynas plant;
·         A National Day of Actions to Stop Lynas is scheduled for 14th July
·         A National Conference on Environmental Challenges for Malaysia is scheduled for November
·         Lynas Annual General Meeting Action in Sydney in November.
Apart from local actions, SMSL has networked widely with civil society groups and Malaysian Diasporas in Australia, Europe and the USA to plan for other actions in their respective countries.
There will be legal actions in Western Australia and in Sydney in the near future.
Mr Tan said, “Our allies and supporters overseas are appalled by the latest news on the Lynas project in Malaysia.  They are looking at means and ways to publicise the issue to Lynas’ customers and investors that Lynas has no social licence, and will never get one, to operate in Malaysia.”
“And of course, we will step up our voters awareness and education campaign in Malaysia to use the Lynas problem to explain to voters their power to change government to secure a cleaner and safer future for their family and for Malaysia.”  Concluded Mr Tan

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Fremantle MP : Lynas' rare earth stockpile radiation levels questioned

Rare earth stockpile radiation levels questioned

Updated June 20, 2012 10:59:24
An MP is calling on the State Government to make radiation monitoring results public after revelations the Lynas Corporation has been stockpiling rare earth concentrate in Bibra Lake.
The Member for Fremantle, Adele Carles, says the Government is yet to confirm whether monitoring is being conducted.
The Environment Minister Bill Marmion has confirmed the containers have been held at Lynas' holding yard since March.
They are not due to be shipped from Fremantle Port until the second half of the year but Mr Marmion says radioactive levels were low.
Ms Carles says the Government is basically saying the material is perfectly safe.
"I say to them, well, if it's so safe, then release to us the radiation monitoring so that we can see that for ourselves," she said.
Ms Carles says monitoring is required under a Radiation Management Plan.
"That requires that if this material is stored anywhere for more than 24 hours, there must be radiation monitoring," she said.
"I've asked to get copies of this monitoring and the Minister has basically denied that information."
First posted June 20, 2012 09:37:52

Lynas court case postponed; PSC making citizens guinea pigs to enrich Lynas Corp

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
June 19, 2012
Lynas Gag Action postponed
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.”

Lynas’ attempt to gag free speech in Malaysia

Tuesday 19 June 2012

 Lynas’ attempt to gag free speech in Malaysia
NGOs in Australia are opposed to Australian rare earth miner, Lynas Corporation, gagging free speech in Malaysia. Today, The Malaysian High Court has scheduled to hear the injunction application filed by Lynas against residents group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL).

Thousands of Malaysians have come out in the past 15 months to protest against its rare earth processing plant in Malaysia. Lynas wants to export 33,000 tonnes per annum of rare earth concentrates from its mine through the port of Fremantle in Western Australia to the port of Kuantan in Malaysia to its hazardous, energy intensive and highly controversial processing plant, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).

Marcus Atkinson, campaigner, Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia said, “There is no way Lynas would be able to gag organisations in Australia from exercising their constitutional rights as citizens groups to highlight the risks and hazards of a particular development.”

Lynas has been very aggressive in pushing ahead with its controversial project against a growing tide of opposition. If the LAMP goes ahead it will leave behind millions of tonnes of hazardous radioactive waste in an area surrounded by peat mangrove swamp only 3.5 km from the South China Sea, a major fishing and recreational hot spot. It is totally un-Australian for Lynas to try to shut up Malaysian communities who are concerned about inheriting a polluted and radioactive future, losing their livelihood and clean living environment along the way!”

Lynas had earlier failed to seek an exparte court injunction to gag SMSL and Malaysian NGOs. It is now trying again through an inter-parte court injunction. Today, the court will decide on the injunction sought by Lynas.

Lee Tan, a Kuantan born Australian resident formerly the Asia-Pacific Campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation said,"Lynas' defamation suit against its critics in Malaysia goes to show the kind of company it really is - to take advantage of the less stringent environmental policy of Malaysia, to cash in on the overly generous 12-year tax holiday instead of paying taxes including the carbon tax in Australia, to ignore community's opposition to its rare earth plant and to push ahead with its plant despite not having a safe permanent solution for its millions of tonnes of hazardous radioactive waste"

Dr. Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner, Friends of the Earth Australia said, “Local communities have every right to voice their concerns against any development that poses the threats of radiation. Lynas should be adhering to Precautionary Principle and Free Prior and Informed Consent. If these two principles are not taken seriously then Lynas does not have the social licence to operate in Malaysia.”

Whilst Rare Earth’s are required for a variety of “green” technologies including wind turbines and hybrid/electric cars both the extraction and processing of rare earths has significant environmental risks in its potential for the spread of radioactive material, heavy metals and toxic chemicals, as well as the acidification of watersheds.

Ms Tan said, "Lynas has no idea that it needs a social licence to operate. Its attempt to promote its products as green and sustainable will never match ethical consumer demand for a sound life cycle footprints for green products."
SMSL and several bus-loads of supporters from different parts of Malaysia will converge outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court by 9.30am today to stage a peaceful action.

Saturday 16 June 2012

MOSTI confused Lynas spin with science & Lynas Defamation Suit will spark more protests

Press statement of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
MOSTI confused Lynas spin with science - MOSTI failed in its duty of care
Lynas Defamation Suit will spark more protests
Friday June 15, 2012

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Datuk Maximus Ongkili imposed two additional conditions on Lynas’ temporary operating licence hoping that they will calm public’s opposition to the Lynas rare earth refinery project.  These conditions were added in response to three Kuantan residents supported by SMSL who appealed before him on April 17th to suspend the TOL approved by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) on January 30th this year.
Mr Tan Bun Teet, the spokesperson for SMSL commented, “Of course, we are NOT convinced that the addition of the two conditions will do much to safeguards our future.  Didn’t the IAEA made eleven recommendations for the AELB last year? Which of those recommendations has in practice been followed through? Yet the AELB with the blessing of the MOSTI went ahead to approve the TOL for Lynas.”
“The ministerial appeal is a process we have had to follow because without it, the court will throw out our application for a judicial review later.”  Continued Mr Tan
SMSL and concerned residents of Kuantan will proceed to take on the government through the court as soon as the Parliamentary Select Committee has revealed the finding of its inquiry.  In May, SMSL walked out of the PSC hearing because it could not provide the necessary guarantee that witnesses who revealed problems with the LAMP would not face defamation suit by Lynas.
The affidavit submitted to the KL high court
SMSL Supporters to Protest Against Lynas’ Attempt to Gag Free Speech in Malaysia

On another court matter, SMSL and several bus-loads of supporters from different places will converge outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court by 9.30am on Tuesday 19th June to stage a peaceful action.  They have responded to Lynas’ defamation action to gag SMSL from exercising its constitutional rights as a citizens group to highlight the risks and hazards of the Lynas project.
Mr Tan remarked, “Not only has Lynas been aggressive in pushing ahead its controversial project which risks polluting our land, our river and our sea, it is also trying to shut us up!”
Lynas has earlier failed to seek an exparte court injunction to gag SMSL and Malaysian NGOs. It is now trying again through an inter-parte (where SMSL will have the opportunity to defend) court injunction.  Next Tuesday, the court will decide on the injunction sought by Lynas.
Buses are available to take concerned citizens to KL to show Lynas that we will not be defeated. Seats are limited and going fast.  Please SMS your NAME & IC# to 012-989 0687 to book a seat. The entourage will tour Putrajaya following the court hearing.

Tuesday 5 June 2012