SYDNEY – A 19-strong, self-funded Malaysian delegation are protesting outside Lynas Corporations Annual General Meeting this morning. Joined by Friends of the Earth Australia, the Malaysian delegation are part of a diverse and large movement called Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL).
SMSL are vehemently opposed to the Australian rare earth miner building and operating their toxic rare earth refinery, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) in their local community. Lamp is located 2km from a residential area of 30000 people and some 25km from Kuantan, potentially putting 700000 people directly at risk from any toxic leaks and emissions
Haji Ismail Abu Baker, a retired public servant, grandfather and local Kuantan resident said, “Malaysia has always had a strong and positive relationship with Australia especially at the people-to-people level. Lynas has ruined Australia’s reputation. Why should we allow one profit-hungry company to do that? Decent Australians must join us to Stop Lynas for a more sustainable future.”
Situated in a peat swamp, the refinery will discharge 500 tonnes of waste water in to the Balok River which drains into the South China sea, a habitat to the endangered green back turtle. Lamp is also located close to fishing communities and coastal resorts threatening the vibrant Kuantan economy.
Bun Teet Tan, SMSL spokesperson and retired maths teacher, emphasised, “This is SMSL’s third visit to Australia. Lynas never got informed consent from Malaysians and fellow Kuantan residents to develop the Lamp.”
“We will fight until the end and exhaust all legal avenues in Malaysia and Australia to stop the Lynas rare earth plant for a cleaner and safer Malaysia. I have worked hard and I want to retire peacefully in a safe environment in Kuantan.”
Despite Lynas finally being issued a Temporary Operating Licence (TOL) some financial analysts are not confident that the company is a good investment. This is due to the potential for further legal actions; the commissioning risk of Lamp; a drop in rare earth prices; and an upcoming election in Malaysia in which the Lynas rare earth processing plant will be a key issue.
“We do not want Lynas in Malaysia! We will campaign strong and hard to vote OUT the current government that approved the Lynas rare earth plant. Malaysians are sick and tired of a corrupted and irresponsible government. We want to reclaim our democracy and future”, states Ram Govindasamy, an active community organiser for SMSL and a local Kuantan resident.
Tully McIntyre, Stop Lynas and Rare Earths campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia said, “We are by no means opposed to the use of rare earth minerals and know they play a crucial part in 21st century technology.”
“We are calling for more stringent scientific research into the process of rare earths refining and site selection and for future Australian companies to uphold free, prior and informed consent and the precautionary principle.”
For more information:
Bun Teet Tan, +61 435 856 766
Tully McIntyre, [email protected], +61 410 388 187