By : Lim Guan Eng
The DAP demands that Barisan Nasional should stop the operation of Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) now or four m Ministers should resign to take full responsibility for failing to fulfill their own promise that the rare earth waste will not remain but be exported out of Malaysia.
BN’s insincerity and lack of commitment to make public health and safety the utmost priority follows a recent admission by Lynas’ Managing Director, Mashal Ahmad that no residues from Lamp would be exported out from Malaysia.
The admission by Mashal contradicts the seven-paragraph joint ministerial statement on Feb 22, 2012 by four ministers whose portfolios are directly associated with Lynas’ application to set up and operate the plant.
The four ministers, namely International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamad; Science and Technology Minister Maximus Johnity Ongkili; Natural Resources and Environment Minister Douglas Unggah Embas; and Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, said as follows:
“Prior to the issuance of the Temporary Operating License (TOL), Lynas shall submit a letter of undertaking that it will accept a return of any residue generated by its factory in Gebeng to its original source.”
Lynas’ admission that rare earth waste will remain and not exported out of Malaysia presents a rare opportunity for the Malaysian government to cancel the Kuantan rare earth facility for breach of compliance without needing to pay compensation.
Mashal had confirmed that Lynas have no plans to export the rare earth wastes because Lamp needed to abide by international conventions which prohibit the export of toxic wastes to overseas countries.
Earlier, the Australian government has repeated that they will not take back the radioactive waste.
Clearly Lynas’ managing director has shown that this is an empty BN promise and another example of “Janji Tak Ditepati”.
Only by revoking Lynas’ temporary operating licence (TOL) or issue a stop-work order until the Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) proposed by Lynas can save the credibility and the jobs of these four ministers.
A condition imposed by the AELB on Lynas is for the submission of details of the plans and location of a proposed permanent disposal facility (PDF) that will manage the residue, if any, generated by the factory.
The submission must be made within 10 months from the date the TOL is issued. To-date no one knows where in Malaysia does Lynas plan to build their Permanent Disposal Facility?
Although Lynas is confident that by-products of the LAMP will be recycled and reused in commercial applications, and will not require long-term storage, a prominent chemist from China, Chun-Hua Yan commented that it is an outdated method abandoned by China.
Clearly Lynas has shown that the guarantees of Liow Tiong Lai and three BN ministers are worthless as Lynas’s toxic residues cannot be exported but will remain in Malaysia.
As there is no radioactive waste or toxic residue management plan, BN should revoke Lynas’ TOL or issue stop work order to Lynas until Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) proposed by Lynas is confirmed out of the country.
If BN refuses to defend the interests of the people’s health and the environment by cancelling the Lynas plant for breach of compliance, then Pakatan will do so when we take over Putrajaya as the plant can now be cancelled for breach of compliance without needing to pay a single sen in compensation.
Lim Guan Eng is the DAP secretary-general and MP for Bagan. This is his opening speech at the joint DAPSY and Wanita National Congress this morning.