Najib says former Lynas critics in government should apologise or go

Najib explained he was not against the rare-earths miner but PH’s alleged deception over the matter. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Najib explained he was not against the rare-earths miner but PH’s alleged deception over the matter. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders who had opposed Lynas Malaysia should apologise over the move to let the firm explore local waste disposal options or resign in protest, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) adviser and former prime minister said they have a moral obligation to do so following the Cabinet’s decision to no longer require the Australian mining firm to remove its water leach purification (WLP) residue from the country.

“This matter must be resolved. It clearly shows they are unethical,” he told the press during an event in Kemaman, Terengganu, today.

“They used to make so much noise but are now silent. They cannot do that, they cannot deceive the public.”

The apparent reversal over Lynas has given the BN leader fresh political capital against the ruling coalition that previously used the Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Gebeng, Kuantan to criticise his government.

When asked if he would join the Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas protest later this month, Najib explained he was not against the rare-earths miner but PH’s alleged deception over the matter.

The LAMP project was mooted during Najib’s administration and completed in 2012 when he was still the prime minister.

“I have my own position and I am consistent. I am not playing up this matter for popularity, for support. I am making a stand based on principles and facts,” he said.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed this week that the government was dropping its requirement for Lynas to repatriate its water leach purification (WLP) residue as a precondition for its licence renewal due by September 1.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who previously insisted that the Australian mining firm must repatriate its waste, defended the decision today but conceded that she did not think it was “ideal”.

Lynas Malaysia also confirmed today that it has placed a US$42 million (RM174.6 million) deposit with the federal government to fund long-term waste solutions in the country.