No basis to claim lynas could cause ‘Sungai Kim Kim incident’ in Kuantan, says Lynas safety manager

A security guard keeps vigil at an under construction Lynas plant in Gebeng April 19, 2012. — AFP pic
A security guard keeps vigil at an under construction Lynas plant in Gebeng April 19, 2012. — AFP pic

KUANTAN, March 24 — There is no basis to claim that Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, near here, could cause a similar chemical waste contamination incident in Pasir Gudang, Johor, to happen here, says Lynas Malaysia Radiation Safety general manager Prof Ismail Bahari.

In fact, he said it was also unfair to equate Lynas with the culprit behind the Sungai Kim Kim river contamination incident in Pasir Gudang as Lynas had been operating under the eagle eye of various agencies, non-profit organisations (NGO) and the public.

“Lynas has been monitored from the first day we began operations and until today, there is not a single incident that requires alarm like what happened in Sungai Kim Kim. We followed the rules as we should. 

“We have evidence, facts and data that were made available to the public, thus it is not exactly the same to compare these two (incidents),” he told reporters here today.

Earlier an anti-Lynas group, Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL), held a press conference to raise their concerns on the possibility that Sungai Balok’s mangrove reserve, which is located in the same district with LAMP, had been contaminated with chemical waste from Lynas.

Among others, SMSL was questioning the cost to clean up Lynas’ contamination and waste, if the cost to clean up Sungai Kim Kim itself had reached millions of ringgit.

Ismail, the PhD holder from Colorado State University, also stressed that it was unfair for others to blame Lynas on the executive review committee’s report regarding the finding of heavy metals in underground water.

“The executive committee did not point a finger to Lynas. What they actually recommended (in the report) was for it to be investigated. There are a lot of activities being carried out around Lynas’ plant since 2015 onwards.

“... of course we welcome an independent body to carry out the investigation because if we do it, some members of the public would accuse us as bias. Those with evidence to show that it was caused by us should also come forward,” he said.

Ismail also expressed hope that the public could be more open-minded on the Lynas issues and look for the scientific evidence and data, and not merely influenced by their unfounded feelings.

He said the latest review committee in their report submitted to the government at the end of 2018, also had the ‘same positive rhythm’ with the first committee that was formed in 2012. 

“The executive review committee had been formed under the administration of two government (Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan). They were appointed by the minister and consist of experts in different fields.

“They made the conclusion to which Lynas has no way to interfere. The conclusion was based on data and evidence, which are not something that Lynas has the power to create,” he said. — Bernama