KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Bentong MP Wong Tack has urged Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin to suspend Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s operating licence until all its existing waste has been safely disposed of.
He said the rare earth mining plant should cease operations and that Lynas ought to be forced to immediately find a solution to dispose the close to 600,000 tonnes of toxic radioactive waste currently piled up in their flood-prone backyard.
“Based on the conditions set on the renewal of Lynas’ licence by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) yesterday, it is now obvious that AELB has kept a blind eye to Lynas’ incompliance with regulations and licensing conditions all these years,” Wong said in a statement.
Noting that Lynas had been instructed by the AELB in 2012 to submit a detailed plan and location for the permanent disposal facility within 10 months of the issuance of its Temporary Operating Licence, he said the same instance has occurred once again, with the only difference being six rather than 10 months.
“Thus, it is crystal clear that Lynas has not complied with the licensing condition imposed in 2012. The AELB has also finally admitted that Lynas has been storing its massive amount of toxic radioactive wastes on a site prone to natural disaster like major floods, in violation of Malaysian regulations.
“The Atomic Energy Licensing (Radioactive Waste Management) Regulations 2011, Regulation 21 states that radioactive wastes must not be stored in an area prone to natural disasters,” he said.
Wong said he is appalled that an important agency like the AELB, tasked to safeguard both people and the environment from harm arising from activities which deal with radioactive materials, could be so incompetent and irresponsible.
“The minister must investigate this matter and take stern action against those officers who have failed in their duties.
“It is already the month of August. The unpredictable East Coast monsoon season is just around the corner,” he said.
Wong joins the likes of Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Parti Sosialis Malaysia, who have condemned the Pakatan Harapan government’s decision yesterday to extend Lynas’ operating licence.