Lynas Corporation Update: Reports From Malaysia Suggest Potential Political Pressure Adding to Environmental Inquiry

The Star Online – Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: The Government will be setting up two inquiries to probe Lynas Corporation’s processing of rare earths in Kuantan, Pahang, according to an Australian news report.

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS News) on Wednesday (Aug 22) quoted Bentong MP Wong Tack as saying that two inquiries into Lynas, one parliamentary and one in the executive branch would begin in the “very near future”.

“The Pakatan Harapan government was voted in by an overwhelming mandate for reform.

“One of its manifesto promises is to balance economic growth and environmental well-being,” he told SBS News.”Malaysia as a sovereign state will strive to adhere to these obligations and at the same time protect its policy-making space and uphold the rights and aspirations of its people to environmentally-sound investments,” Wong was reported saying.

The Australian company has been processing rare earths in the country since 2013.

The Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Kuantan has long been the focus of residents and environmental protesters who are concerned about the management of low-level nuclear waste generated during processing.

Lynas has consistently defended its waste management at the processing centre, saying radioactive run-off is diluted to safe levels before being turned into other by-products, such as soil fertiliser.

Lynas Corporation, in a statement to SBS news, said they had been operating safely in Malaysia for more than five years in compliance with all regulatory requirements.

“Lynas welcomes the strong sense of optimism and progress that the new government has brought to Malaysia and accepts they are reviewing many areas of the Malaysian economy,” it said.

“As a lawful and transparent business, we hold ourselves to a high standard on all aspects of our business and will co-operate with the government with confidence in our performance,” it added.

The Star had in May reported that Wong and Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh will push for the setting up of a new parliamentary select committee (PSC) to reopen investigations into LAMP.

Fuziah said the parameters of the new PSC’s review of the LAMP would have to be redefined, claiming that the previous definition of safety had been skewed towards the narrative that supported Lynas.

An earlier PSC in 2012 concluded in its report that Lynas should be awarded a temporary operating licence (TOL) after finding that it met the stipulated requirements.

Fuziah also said the Pakatan government could not simply freeze operations at Lynas or shut it down immediately as regulations have to be followed.

“We can only ask to declassify whatever documents we have not seen before this. There are procedures we have to follow,” she added.

Lynas , Wong Tack , Investigation

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/08/22/report-two-inquiries-into-lynas-operations-soon/#ZDcTtDPpjFXsr5Ip.99

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