KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — Around 130 Lynas employees demonstrated in front of the Parliament compound today to seek clarity on the government’s plans for the controversial rare-earths refiner.
Led by Lynas Malaysia senior human resource manager Jumaat Mansor, the group also delivered a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that urged the government to objectively review the Australian miner’s operations in the country.
“We plead with the government to review any decision made on Lynas based on scientific research and findings,” he said during the gathering before handing over the memorandum to a representative of Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration
Carrying placards with messages such as “Save our jobs”, the employees also pressed the government to treat Lynas fairly, insisting the company has met all regulatory requirements imposed on the firm.
Jumaat said the group was demonstrating of their own volition.
“We demand justice as we have been reviewed eight times. All of the findings have been positive and our operations are found to be safe,” he said.
There have been four scientific reviews on the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Pahang to date: Two were by the International Atomic Agency in 2011 and 2014; a parliamentary select committee conducted one in 2012; and the most recent this year by an executive committee under the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Ministry.
Jumaat claimed that 1,000 jobs would be directly affected and another 4,000 jobs indirectly, if the LAMP were to be shut down.
The Lynas Malaysia employees urged the government to take into account the recommendations of the last executive committee review, that a permanent disposal facility (PDF) be built first to manage the waste produced.
The same executive review committee also recommended that the waste be shipped back to Australia if the PDF facility fails.
However, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the waste removal from Malaysia was one of the pre-conditions that Lynas agreed to for its licence renewal.
Malaysian law allows 20 metric tonnes of waste or a limit of 180 days for temporary waste storage.
Lynas had requested an exemption where it has accumulated hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste over a six-year period.