Rival Lynas demonstrations outside Parliament

Anti-Lynas demonstrators rally in front of Parliament compound in Kuala Lumpur April 10, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Anti-Lynas demonstrators rally in front of Parliament compound in Kuala Lumpur April 10, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — A demonstration in support of Lynas Corp and another opposing the firm’s rare-earth processing plant met in front Parliament today.

Rallying on opposite sides of the road leading to Parliament, around 200 Lynas workers and 50 Kuantan residents chanting “Live, live. Live Lynas” and “Lynas is safe” while around 80 anti-Lynas protesters called for its licence to be discontinued.

The pro-Lynas left at 10.10am while rival group remained to continue displaying placards calling for Lynas’s operations in Kuantan, Pahang, to be suspended.

Representatives from Lynas handed over a memorandum on behalf of its workers, local businesses and local residents for the attention of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

In it, the representatives thanked Dr Wan Azizah for her support of the continuation of Lynas’ operations.

“We hope the deputy prime minister and the country’s administration is fair in assessing Lynas according to the following facts: scientific research has been done on Lynas four times since 2011; Lynas’s operations is watched over by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), Department of Enviroment (DOE), Ministry of Health (MOH), Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and other state enforcement departments; and the operations of Lynas was challenged four times in court from 2012 till 2015,” read the memorandum.

It also stated that the courts have concluded that Lynas abided by all rules and regulations as advised in the licensing agreement, that the risk of the operations is low and the company has followed all advice from specialists and enforcement agencies.

The anti-Lynas side was represented by over 60 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including Save Malaysia Stop Lynas, Greenpeace Malaysia, Himpunan Hijau, Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (PEKA) Malaysia, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) and The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM), among others.

They urged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Cabinet, especially Enviroment, Science, Technology and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin to take strong action on Lynas.

“Suspend Lynas’ operating license; reject Lynas’s application to turn its current waste storage site into a prescribed premise for its massive amount of scheduled waste; ensure Lynas take steps to remove its toxic radioactive waste from Malaysia by the September deadline; don’t allow any of Lynas’ toxic waste to remain in Malaysia; ensure that the promised US$50 million (RM204.9 million) deposit from Lynas is paid fully in cash and not in Lynas’ shares; and hold the AELB and DOE to task to ensure that they perform their mandated roles and duty with a high degree of professionalism and integrity in the interest of Malaysia and the Rakyat,” stated the press statement issued by the NGOs present.

They insisted that radioactive waste produced at the Lynas plant to be pollution threats. They also accused regulators of failing to properly police Lynas.

They submitted their memorandum PKR whip Datuk Johari Abdul and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Fuziah Salleh, who  is also Kuantan MP, outside of Parliament.

Bentong MP Wong Tack was also among the Pakatan Harapan lawmakers present at the rally and insisted that Yeo has made it clear that Lynas must remove its waste from the country in order to continue operating.

“This is not a new condition,” he said.

The pro-Lynas left at 10.10am while rival group remained till early afternoon to continue displaying placards calling for Lynas’s operations in Kuantan, Pahang, to be suspended.

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