Bloomberg reported on 22 April:
Lynas Corp. will be barred from importing raw materials into Malaysia until the completion of a study prompted by health and safety concerns related to a processing plant the Australian developer of rare earths minerals is constructing.
The Sydney-based company won’t get a pre-operating license until the month-long independent review is complete, the Malaysian government said. The company can continue building its $220 million refinery in Pahang state while it awaits the outcome of the panel’s study, Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, secretary-general of the Ministry of International Trade & Industry, told media in Kuala Lumpur today.
“We will never compromise the public interest in the handling of the Lynas issue,” International Trade & Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said. “The health and safety of our people and the environment will continue to receive the highest priority in our deliberations in this regard.”
Protests, including a march on Parliament, have escalated following leakages at nuclear power plants in Japan after last month’s earthquake and tsunami. While technologies used in rare- earth processing are different, local residents and non- governmental organizations are concerned over radiation risks and what will happen to the waste.
The company will issue a statement later, Liz Whiteway, a Lynas spokesperson, said when phoned in Kuala Lumpur today for comment.
And this response came after years of Fuziah Salleh’s (current Kuantan MP) protest against Lynas’ intention. She blogged on 20 April:
Saya merujuk kepada kenyataan YAB MB Pahang, sewaktu menggulung titah DYMM Sultan Pahang diakhir sesi sidang DUN Pahang 19 Apr 2011
MB: Jangan cerca kami, Pahang tiada kuasa beri Lynas lessen
Kerajaan negeri Pahang tidak mempunyai kuasa untuk melulus dan menutup pembinaan kilang pemprosesan logam nadir bumi milik Syarikat Lynas Corporation Ltd dari Australia, kata Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.
Kenyataan beliau yang mengarahkan tanggungjawab kepada Lembaga Perlesenan Atom Malaysia, sungguh tidak bertanggung jawab kerana sekiranya Kerajaan Negri Pahang tidak mengeluarkan lesen premis, maka LAMP tidak akan mendapat tapak untuk mendirikan logi mereka. Dan LAMP tidak mungkin boleh mahu mula memproses rare earth pada hari ini.
Kerajaan Pahang juga kata mereka berpuas hati dgn tahap keselamatan yang dilaporkan oleh LPTA. Akan tetapi LPTA pula pernah berkata bahawa mereka hanya keluarkan Lesen. MITI yang beri ” Strategic Pioneer Status” dan pengecualian cukai selama 12 tahun.
Compare this with utterings of the MCA Kuantan chief who in dealing with this potentially serious environmental issue of common concern seemed to be unable to forget the usual MCA style of discrediting others who are not of the BN colours (23 April):
Kuantan MCA chairman Datuk Ti Lian Ker when contacted, said the opposition had purposely turned the project into a political issue and used “emotion and anger” to attract the public’s attention.
“Opposition leader in the State Assembly, Leong Ngah Ngah from DAP, when attending the briefings on the project for elected representatives in 2009, had also agreed to the construction of the project, and was reported by a Chinese daily as saying that the state government had managed to secure a huge investment from abroad,” he said.
Ti also said several briefing sessions conducted to explain the issue had also turned into a political battlefields.
“The people in Kuantan were deluged with information that made people emotional and angry. Is this the opposition’s political agenda? They seem to be smarter that the atomic energy experts and the AELB,” he added.
Ti Lian Ker, your biodata proudly declared you were the State Assemblyman for Teruntum (1995-2008), Menteri Besar Pahang’s Special Officer from 2008, and appointed Pengerusi Lembaga Rayuan Perancang Bandar dan Desa Negeri Pahang in 2009. Surely you must have heard early news of Lynas’ proposal to do this business which was approved in January 2008? What happened? Did you inform and discuss potentialities of this business and potential issues with MCA members and the people living there to pre-empt problems? Or, heaven forbid, you have no idea at all what happened during your watch?
For that matter, how about the level of knowledge of Lynas’ business from all the Pahang MPs and ADUNs who are/were in service then and now? If they can say they know nothing because they were not aware or told about it, Pahang voters are going to be laughing stock of the whole world cos their elected representatives who are/were supposed to safeguard their constituents have let them down badly.
Maybe politicians should learn from the Pahang Bar Council :
Pahang Bar chairman Hon Kai Ping admitted the suggestion might tarnish Malaysia’s image as an investment destination but pointed out that the government should not rush its decision with so much at stake. “The Pahang Bar is of the opinion that careful and thorough scrutiny of the rare earth operations is needed here and no decision should be rushed if the government is serious regarding the health and welfare of Malaysians,”