KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 ― The government could revoke Lynas Corporation’s permit to operate its rare earth refinery in Kuantan, Pahang, if the firm failed to begin the construction of a permanent disposal facility (PDF) by March 2021, Khairy Jamaluddin said.

The science and innovation minister said this was in line with conditions the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) set for Lynas to deal with its water leach purification (WLP) residue after the Australian government refused to accept it last year.

He also acknowledged the previous administration’s efforts, particular that of his predecessor, Yeo Bee Yin, to try and get Australia to accept the Australian firm’s waste.

“Now Lynas has to build the PDF and the timeline is a year after their (operating) licence is approved. The licence was approved by AELB on March 2020


“If they fail (to start construction), then their licence might be revoked in March 2021,” he told Parliament today in response to a supplementary question by Yeo.

Khairy originally responded to an oral question by Datuk Seri Noh Omar (Tanjong Karang ― PN) on whether it was true the Cabinet has agreed to extend the Lynas licence to 2023.

Earlier, Noh accused PH of double standards over Lynas and said the coalition’s lawmakers changed their positions on Lynas despite previously opposing it.


Khairy agreed and said at least 13 former PH ministers previously signed a pledge to revoke the rare earth plant’s licence if they were voted in.

Yeo (Bakri ― PH) then stood up and asked Khairy in a supplementary question whether he agreed that the PH government had imposed stricter conditions on Lynas than the preceding Barisan Nasional administration that gave a temporary operating licence to the firm.

Since 2011, Lynas has submitted several plans related to a PDF to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), the federal government body that regulates radioactive materials in Malaysia.

However, neither Lynas nor the AELB has described the PDF in detail or shown successful examples of PDFs in Malaysia or indeed elsewhere.

In Malaysia, the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984 (Act 304) provides control over matters of atomic energy and is enforced by the local regulator, the AELB. Any operator that wishes to dispose of radioactive waste must apply for the appropriate license from the AELB and adhere to rules stated in Part 3 Section 5 of the Atomic Energy Licensing (Radioactive Waste Management) Regulations 2011.