Wong Tack, Fuziah to head committee to review Lynas project, minister says

Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said a new committee led by Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Bentong MP Wong Tack will review the rare earth refining operations lead by Lynas Corporation. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said a new committee led by Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Bentong MP Wong Tack will review the rare earth refining operations lead by Lynas Corporation. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — A new committee led by Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Bentong MP Wong Tack will review the rare earth refining operations lead by Lynas Corporation said Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, Yeo said she had approached both MPs on the matter before she was even sworn in on July 3.

“I talked to them and they have agreed. So upon it, we are going to see the committee next week.

“I think that there are a lot of things we can do on Lynas. But now it is still premature, so let’s leave it to the committee to decide,’’ she said.

“People like Wong Tack will be able to lead it very well, and I am looking forward to his leadership in this committee,” Yeo said, while citing that the will see the Department of Environment (DOE) to discuss the Lynas issue.

Yeo also clarified there are other environmentally risky project that will possibly be reviewed.

Subsequently Yeo also said she intent to strengthen process involved in approvals of environmental assessment report before any project would be approved for development.

“I think right now all development projects with an EIA report from consulting firms will be approved.

“There is no ‘teeth’ in it. Everyone that has an EIA report can get it (approval) through,” she noted.

“I think we need to grow teeth in our EIA reports. Next week I will be seeing them (DOE) and I will discuss on how we, as a governing body, can be more professional in evaluating the environmental impacts of different projects,’’ she said.

The development of nuclear energy has been scrapped in favour of other means of renewable energy, Yeo added.

“Malaysia does not need a nuclear plant at this moment. I think we have a lot of potential in renewable energy, for example, solar energy, biomass, biogas, hydro... these are just some examples of the renewable energy.

“Building a nuclear power plant is like running a marathon. If we can do our solar well, if we can do our biomass, biogas, hydro and mini-hydro well, we can easily build up our renewable energy capacity to meet the demands of this country.”

Yeo also said that the ministry is currently reviewing a few independent power producers (IPPs) that were awarded contracts through direct negotiations.

The results of the review could be beneficial, Yeo hinted.

“We need to be able to reform the power sector so that we will have affordable, sustainable as well as secured electricity.

“So the government right now will through the ministry review some of the IPPs, and I think there will be some good news next week,” she said.

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