Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) was outraged and appalled by the announcement of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) on 1 February to issue a pre-operational licence to Australia’s Lynas Corporation for its controversial Gebeng rare earth refinery plant.
Tan Bun Teet, the chairperson of SMSL commented: “The approval given by the AELB totally ignored the concerns and comments provided by the public who took the trouble to wade through Lynas’ application. The public has submitted no less than a thousand comments and suggestions to AELB on 26 January. Merely three office working days later, AELB has decided to give Lynas a temporary licence.”
“Has the AELB really understood the risks and hazards of this project? The public review was a total charade, a sham and a false pretence in public consultation. It is just another public relation exercise for the Lynas project.”
Added Mr Tan, “In the AELB media statement, it is clear that NONE of the suggestions and objections raised by the public and independent experts in the field was adequately addressed!”
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“The AELB has failed abysmally as a regulator,” Tan said.
“SMSL will not hold back any more but will take all possible actions to Stop Lynas.”
The Lynas rare earth project known as Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) is 10 times bigger than the now closed Asian Rare Earth project in Bukit Merah.
Rare earth processing has long been linked to devastating environmental pollution. Lamp will be discharging a huge amount of pollution in all streams – air, water and solids – as disclosed in the two documents by Lynas. Each of the streams contains radioactive particles and a range of unknown hazardous substances yet to be declared by Lynas.
The plant is already posing problems as it is in a flood plain. Contaminated water will be certain to overflow into the surrounding area, into the Balok River and the sea – which will affect the range of marine life.
Worse, it is located in an environmentally sensitive area next to an important mangrove area and the South China Sea. A significant proportion of Malaysian seafood is caught here. Tourism, the other growing industry for Pahang, is based on the pristine coastal ecosystem, which will be hit hard in the shadow of the world’s largest rare earth refinery.
In granting Lynas the licence, the AELB has totally ignored advice and recommendation made by Malaysia’s most qualified professionals – the Malaysian Medical Association and the Pahang Bar Association.
Dr Yu Siew Hong a local general practitioner and an active member of SMSL said, “There is no safe dose of radiation. The health of our people will be put at risk. The AELB has not learned from its mistake at Bukit Merah. The people will be outraged and they will do whatever it takes to stop this toxic project.”
SMSL has been taking a series of civil and fair action. Of the various Stop Lynas groups, SMSL by far has engaged most extensively with the relevant authorities.
The AELB approval is the last straw for SMSL.
“The government has left us no choice but to take legal action and to embark on a nationwide public campaign to vote the government out in the next general election. We want a safe and clean Malaysia for all. We cannot afford to let a government, which does not know its duty of care, bring hazards to our country,” concluded Tan.
SMSL has organised a public event on Saturday, 4 February from 5.00pm till 10.00pm. We call upon all concerned residents of Kuantan and the greater Kuantan to come to Teluk Cempedak beach to make a wish. We pledge with others to change the government to save our homeland. Kuantan is a beautiful town. We do not want to live in the shadow of the pollution of the world’s biggest rare earth refinery.
Let’s make a thousand wishes and each of us shall strive to work towards making our wishes come true! SMSL volunteers will be present to guide you. Prepare your wishes and write them on a long strip of paper or cloth prior to coming to TC and they will help you attach it to the balloon.
Let’s all work towards a better government that will adhere to the principles of democracy i.e. a government by the people, of the people and for the people.