Home Civil Society Voices 2011 Civil Society Voices Lynas, a recalcitrant corporation

Lynas, a recalcitrant corporation

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How long is the Government prepared to tolerate Lynas Corporation’s recalcitrant behaviour, wonders the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) team.

Earlier this month, International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed slammed Lynas Corporation for “jumping the gun” by repeatedly pre-empting the government approval through giving unrealistically early start dates for the controversial Lynas Advance Materials Plant (Lamp) near Kuantan.

Mustapa’s statement was clear. He said “They have no business to pre-empt the (Atomic Energy Licensing) board. No business at all to issue these kind of statements and we have reprimanded them.”

Not only has Lynas not shown any remorse or restraint, it has once again spit on our government’s face through its latest media stunt. In its attempt to boost its investors’ and shareholders’ confidence leading up to its 30 November 2011 AGM in Sydney, Lynas yet again pre-empted the issuing of the pre-operating licence and projected an early production date for Lamp.

“This is an affront to the Malaysian Government,” said Dr Phua, the acting chairman for SMSL. “Clearly, we have just witnessed how blatantly arrogant Lynas is. It has no respect for our government and the people of Malaysia. How can we risk our future with this company?”

SMSL has the following critical questions for the government:

  • How can our government tolerate this kind of behaviour and disrespect?
  • If Lynas disregards our Government’s warning now, how can we trust that it will not be even more defiant and arrogant once the operating licence is issued?
  • Is MB Adnan Yaakob trying to race the Pahang economy to be on par with the Greek financial crisis by agreeing to use state funds to purchase houses from residents worried about the rare earth project?
READ MORE:  Lanjutan lesen operasi Lynas: SAM kecewa dengan kerajaan (Malay/English)

“By continuing to tolerate Lynas’ defiance, Malaysians are showing up our own weakness and compromising our sovereign rights to enforce law and order. The people of Malaysia have genuine concerns about the Lynas project. The government needs to act with prudence and exercise its duty of care for its citizens by going hard on Lynas, not to tolerate insults from a foreign company.”

“The government should show Lynas we mean business and that we have the means to determine if the plant is up to scratch to operate. The government must halt the construction of Lamp whilst facilitating an independent team of engineers and experts with the relevant skills and experience to audit Lamp. Only that will help us restore some confidence in our government.”

Last week, Lynas pressed the government to issue a two-year pre-operating licence despite not having presented a safe and effective long-term management plan acceptable to all. To date, the public has not been consulted even though this is one of the conditions Lynas needs to fulfil to get its licence.

So far, Lynas has not come up with a satisfactory long-term waste management plan as recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency and agreed to by the Malaysian Government. Issuing a pre-operating licence now will mean the government has turned its back on the IAEA, rendering the already weak safeguard ineffective in protecting the nation’s own future and safety.

Lynas by asking for a pre-operating licence when all it has built are three open ponds to store the radioactive hazardous waste is an insult to our intelligence and safety standards.

READ MORE:  Lanjutan lesen operasi Lynas: SAM kecewa dengan kerajaan (Malay/English)

In Australia, Lynas would not have been allowed to build the plant without an approved waste management plan.

In Australia, Lamp as it is would have been closed down and any approval issued previously withdrawn by the government for breaches of state and federal laws!

Is our life in Malaysian worth less than the Australians for Lynas to behave so badly and so arrogantly in Malaysia?

Shonky construction of Lamp

Further, the public has no way of knowing if the plant is safe since the revelation in the late June New York Times article that a rushed deadline has resulted in shonky construction and serious structural defects.

“Given the corrosive substances involved in rare earth processing, any construction defect will lead to serious leaks and contamination problems.

“The Government must carry out a full independent engineering audit of the plant before even attempting to consider the licensing issue.

“We simply cannot trust Lynas to do the right thing,” concluded Phua.

The revelation and expose by Lynas’ own insiders to the New York Times are serious problems which would affect the reliability and safety of Lamp.

Only a full independent engineering audit will be able to uncover all of the problems. We fear that Lynas will continue to flaunt basic engineering procedure and lower safety standards in its race to produce rare earth oxides to capture its market share.

“What we have in our backyard is the world’s largest rare earth plant with a massive waste problem to tackle and pollution risks. This is not to be overlooked by either the authorities or the people.

READ MORE:  Lanjutan lesen operasi Lynas: SAM kecewa dengan kerajaan (Malay/English)

“Two of our country’s most esteemed professional bodies – the MMA and the Bar Council – have both publicly issued warnings to the government on this project. They do not do this lightly as they have a duty of care for the people and for our country, just like us ordinary citizens who also have our duty of care for our country and our family and ourselves.”

Supporters of the Stop Lynas campaign will be staging a peaceful action at the Lynas AGM in Sydney on 30 November from 10.00am to noon.

We hope to use this platform to explain to shareholders of Lynas why we are so strongly opposed to this rare earth plant in our backyard.

We will urge shareholders of Lynas Corporation to re-assess their investment risks and divest from Lynas.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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Erin Young
Erin Young
11 Dec 2011 6.15pm

Some people in Australia who are aware are opposed to Lynas’ poor corporate conduct to locate its most polluting operations in Malaysia where environmental law enforcement is lax and the standard is poor with limited understanding and capacity to effectively manage a large refinery like that of the LAMP.

The failure of the government to institute an independent audit despite the revelation by the NYT is a clear indication of Malaysia’s lack of capacity to tackle the problem…

8 Dec 2011 2.05pm

The citizens of Malaysia in general and the folks of Kuantan-Kemaman in particular, should take more effective, even if radical,actions to actually stop the plant from ever operating at all.Weekly demonstrations and protest marches needed to be organised, especially at the site of the plant, the MB’s office and residence to make their objections and resistance to the plant very very clear. After all, it will be the residents of Kuantan-Kemaman who would be paying the full price of any damage to the environment and health that the plant can cause.

8 Dec 2011 8.47am

2. The New York Times reported last October, that the tailings pond at Baotou, China is leaking an underground bloom of thorium that is moving toward the Yellow River at 300 meters per year; the river is 7 kilometers away. The Chinese have since confirmed this.

The Japanese are ONLY now protsting nuke power. Its too … late. They should have protested years ago. Lesson for Malaysians?

8 Dec 2011 8.45am

Of course all Malaysians must be aware of

1. China’s rare earth industry each year produces more than five times the amount of waste gas, (including deadly fluorine, radio-active radon, and sulfur dioxide), than the total flared annually by all miners and oil refiners in the U.S. Alongside that 13 billion cubic meters of gas comes 25 million tons of waste water laced with cancer-causing heavy metals such as cadmium.

6 Dec 2011 11.42am

To all those who wrote in support of Lynas (I think nobody’s really sure if there were many or only one person writing under different names)!

What do you have to say now? Were you paid to write your support? By the way, before answering, please be aware that its an act of treason to sell out our country.

8 Dec 2011 8.54am
Reply to  Isma

That would be Oz Lynas people, Izma. They try to discredit commentators, article authos and newsblogs/outlets. They scan all Lynas articles and jump in. They give themselves away by their attack on the messenger, but dont address the issues.

Maybe AntiFuzia will address my two issues, instead of attacking me as say, a nutter, conspiracy theorist, misguided anti-Lynas person, etc.?

8 Dec 2011 5.18pm
Reply to  ThoamsC

I suppose AntiFuziah is Oz then? A disgrace to any country. In fact to decent humankind everywhere!

6 Dec 2011 6.14am

Ooooo, 20 protestors at the AGM. I guess it shows there are a few people who buy the … spewed out by aliran and other sources.

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