Home Civil Society Voices 2013 Civil Society Voices Stepping up the Stop Lynas campaign

Stepping up the Stop Lynas campaign

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Save Malaysia Stop Lynas is moving into a new phase of campaigning following the recent election of several representatives around Kuantan who have pledged to shut down the Lynas rare earth plant.

An anti-Lynas crowd in Kuantan
An anti-Lynas crowd in Kuantan

Save Malaysia Stop Lynas is moving into a new phase of campaigning to Stop Lynas following the recent successful election of two new members of Parliament and three State Assemblymen in the Kuantan region who have pledged to shut down the Lynas rare earth plant.

The overwhelming support from local communities wishing to have the hazardous plant shut down is evident. The convincing and comfortable majority each of the opposition candidates have won would not have been possible without the strong support, concerted election campaign and the hope as well as trust placed by the people.

Tan Bun Teet, a spokesperson for SMSL, said, “While the election frauds elsewhere are being investigated, SMSL is ready to embark on our post-election strategy keep the Stop Lynas momentum up. Firstly, we have contacted the newly elected representatives of the people seeking a meeting to work out ways to tackle the Lynas problem. We look forward to a strong working partnership.”

“At the very least we expect that there will be some level of transparency to pressure the government to do its job as a regulator and to shut down the plant if pollution and radioactive waste are not managed well,” he added.

Lynas has announced to the international media that it has started production and yet there has not been any data or information from the government on how it has been monitoring or managing the pollution and the radioactive and toxic waste. A study commissioned by SMSL carried out by the highly reputable German scientific and engineering Oeko Institute revealed serious deficiencies in Lynas’ pollution and waste management. Oeko is committed to environmentally sustainable technology and has extensive experience tackling radioactive substances and toxic waste issues.

To date, Lynas has no safe solution to tackle its expected millions of tonnes of hazardous solid waste, one stream of which is contaminated with radioactive thorium and uranium. Its proposal to turn the waste into road building and construction materials as well as fertiliser is irresponsible and unacceptable. The whole of Malaysia may be exposed to Lynas’ hazards if the BN government gives it the go-ahead.

Another SMSL spokesperson, Ismail Abu Bakar said, “We will be stepping up our effort internationally to reveal the truth about the hazardous Lynas plant in Malaysia. So far all the so-called ‘experts’ presented by the government or Lynas are no experts in the rare earth processing or toxic waste management at all. We have been treated like fools when they should be taking maximum precaution in light of the massive pollution problems seen elsewhere from rare earth processing.”…

Lynas is an Australian Corporation depending on the international market to borrow money and to sell its products. To Lynas’ financial backers and especially its customers, its rare earth oxides will be processed with the highest environmental safeguards.

“Our future is at stake because the world’s biggest rare earth refinery plant is in our backyard. Our government has failed in its duty of care so far. AELB had earlier promise to monitor the project. Where are the data to date? The government has announced the formation of a monitoring committee as recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lynas. How can this committee be independent and transparent when its spokesperson is from the University of Pahang, which will be getting grants from Lynas for its research?” asked Tan.

“We have said we will fight till the end to stop Lynas and we will stick to our promise to the people, to our families and the many generations to come who will stand to lose if we do nothing now,” concluded Tan.

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