PUTRAJAYA: A leave application made by three Kuantan residents to temporarily suspend the Lynas Advanced Material Plant's (LAMP) licence to operate its rare-earth processing plant in Gebeng was denied by the Federal Court here.
The five-member panel lead by Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin unanimously dismissed the leave application for an interim stay, pending the hearing of their judicial review before the Kuantan High Court.
Justice Zulkefli Ahmad ruled the appeal did not satisfy Section 96 of Courts of Judicature Act 1964, adding that the judicial review of the matter was still alive in the courts below.
"The Court of Appeal had dealt with the issues of question of law that were raised before us again today. We agree with their decision to deny the appeal," said the Chief Judge of Malaya.
The five-member bench which also included Justices Hashim Yusoff, Abdul Hamid Embong, Zainun Ali and Jeffrey Tan, also ordered the residents to pay RM10,000 in legal costs each to Lynas Malaysia and the Government.
The respondents in the suit included the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, Lynas Corporation and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
Lawyer for the residents, Datuk Bastian Pius Vendargon, had submitted that Malaysia has undertaken a precautionary approach to environmental protection.
As such, companies like Lynas must show their operations to be safe and if they were not entirely sure, the courts should err on the side of caution in allowing their operation.
Lynas' counsel Tan Sri Cecil Abraham argued that to stop the plant, the applicants would have to make an undertaking of damages for losses of earnings, but had not offered any so far.
On July 18 last year, residents Tan Bun Teet, 64, Syed Talib Syed Sulaiman, 60, and Hasimah Ramli, 44, had also applied for an interim stay of LAMP's temporary operating license while the judicial review was pending.
However, the High Court judge Datuk Mariana Yahya dismissed their application, while their appeal to the Court of Appeal was also rejected on Dec 19 last year."
Meanwhile, in a related matter the Court of Appeal on Monday denied the residents' appeal against the Kuantan High Court's Nov 2012 decision to allow Lynas to intervene in judicial review proceedings.
The three-person panel lead by Zaharah Ibrahim unanimously dismissed the appeal with no order to costs.
On Aug 27 2012, Lynas Corporation and Lynas Malaysia had applied to be third party intervenors in the residents' judicial review.