Home Civil Society Voices 2013 Civil Society Voices Election triumph of the ‘Stop Lynas’ campaign

Election triumph of the ‘Stop Lynas’ campaign

Join us on Telegram and Instagram for the latest.

 Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) has vowed to carry on its campaign to shut down the Lynas plant after two members of parliament and three state assemblymen who had campaigned on the issue were voted in.

The anti-Lynas movement
The anti-Lynas movement

SMSL welcomes the election of all candidates committed to the Stop Lynas cause in the Kuantan and surrounding areas near the Lynas plant at the general election held on 5 May in Malaysia. Two members of parliament and three state assemblymen who had campaigned on the Lynas issue were all voted in.

SMSL spokesperson Tan Bun Teet says, “This encouragingly positive election outcome for us is most rewarding as we have staged a concerted campaign to urge the public to vote to stop Lynas. It goes to show that the majority of the people here want to see the Lynas plant shut down.”

The five candidates won a comfortable and convincing majority in their respective seats delivering a clear message that the public have overwhelmingly rejected the Lynas rare earth processing plant near Kuantan.

The plant owned by Australia’s Lynas Corporation has yet to find a safe permanent site for its massive amount of radioactive and toxic waste to date. It has several serious deficiencies as shown in the detailed analysis and evaluation by Germany’s Oeko Institute. Instead Lynas has proposed to turn its toxic waste into building and road paving materials as well as fertilisers – which will result in its hazards spreading everywhere in Malaysia. This is a serious health and public safety issue for Malaysians in light of the poor track record of toxic waste management here.

Ismail Abu Bakar, another SMSL spokesperson, explained, “For the government to issue to Lynas the licence to operate when its risks and hazards have yet been dealt with properly is unacceptable. This is why the public has voted for the opposition candidates in Kuantan and in the area near the Lynas plant. We want to send a strong message to the Government that we want the Lynas project shut down.”

Tan and Ismail are two of the Kuantan residents who have filed a judicial review case to revoke the Lynas temporary operating licence (TOL). This is in light of serious risks and problems related to the Lynas project, which have been identified by health, scientific and engineering experts.

“If the government or Lynas think that we will end our campaign to shut down the Lynas plant with the election, they are wrong. We are now moving into a new phase of the campaign. The people have given us the mandate to fight on. With this renewed energy and newly elected political representatives, we will soldier on to end this public hazard …,” Tan asserted.

For further comments, please contact:
SMSL Hotline :+60 (0) 12-982 3302
Mr Tan Bun Teet, Hp: +60 17 973 0576
Haji Ismail Abu Bakar – Hp 019 953 0921

Summary of the German Oeko Institute:

Lynas rare earth plant in Malaysia has some serious deficiencies

Solid waste management:
The WLP waste with the highest radioactive content would exceed by a factor of more than 1,000 above internationally accepted protection levels for the release of radioactive materials from regulatory control (Beyond Regulatory Concern, BRC level).

Any hopes that this waste can be re-used in the public domain are scientifically and technically nonsense and, with respect to the so posed risks, careless.

The operation of a facility that generates those wastes should only be (temporarily or permanently) allowed if the permanent disposal facility (PDF) is available, otherwise another dangerous legacy is created and the burden of caring about and disposing these wastes is unacceptably shifted to future generations.

The fact that neither the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, in it‘s review) nor Lynas (in its Radioactive Waste Management Plan RWMP) nor the regulators AELB and MOSTI recognise, mention and respect the dose criteria and do not set this as their prime condition for any re-use scenario is irresponsible.

Interim storage of wastes on-site:
Lynas’‘ Residue Storage Facilities (RSF) constructed with only 1mm HDPE layer and a single 30cm clay layer would not be allowed in Germany, not even for the lowest toxic waste categories. Leakage and seepage from the beginning of the storage period on will enter ground, and groundwater under the RSFs will contaminate to an unknown extent because no experiments were made/published/presented to allow for a thorough environmental evaluation. The poor layout of the RSFs should not have been accepted by the regulating agency.

Other pollution risks and hazards:
The filtering equipment used by Lynas to reduce gaseous emissions from its cracking stage is not sufficient. Neither the removal of acidic gases nor of particulate matter from the off-gas of the plant would be acceptable.

The wastewater of the plant has a high salt content, comparable to seawater. This content is not even mentioned in the Environmental Impact study nor is it evaluated. The wastewater flows into a several km long open channel, easily accessible by men and animals. Neither the salt nor the rare earth content of the wastewater is limited and monitored. It is not understandable why these serious environmental issues were not detected when the Impact study was checked by the responsible agency. The preliminary EIA should be rejected on this basis.

Save Malaysia Stop Lynas(SMSL) is a people-backed organisation set up to protect the public interest, specifically those directly or indirectly affected by the risks to life and livelihood, deprivation of property and other rights enshrined in the Malaysian Federal Constitution that arose as a result of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (“LAMP”) being constructed in Gebeng, Kuantan, Pahang.

Thanks for dropping by! 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.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x