MP takes Aussie envoy to task

KUANTAN: Bentong MP Wong Tack has criticised Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski over the latter’s comments on the operating licence status of Lynas.

He said Australia must respect the decision by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry to impose additional pre-conditions on the rare earth materials producer.

“The decision has been endorsed by our Cabinet. Malaysians have said no to Lynas. Whatever he said means nothing to Malaysia,” Wong said after attending his appeal proceedings at the Kuantan High Court here yesterday.

Goledzinowski was reported by a daily as saying Australia believed the Malaysian government was nearing a decision on the extension of Lynas’ operating licence.

He reportedly said the move to change licensing conditions would be unfair to Lynas as it was inconsistent with licensing stipulations and the recommendations by the review committee.

The long-term operations of the rare earth refinery in Gebeng here was placed in jeopardy following the ministry’s decision to impose two new pre-conditions for the full operating stage licence renewal of Lynas, which is due on Sept 2.

The conditions call for Lynas to remove its water leach purification (WLP) residue from Malaysia and also to submit an action plan for the disposal of its accumulated neutralisation underflow (NUF) scheduled waste.

Lynas directors said recently that exporting the volume of WLP residue presently on site within the time frame mandated by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board was unachievable.

During yesterday’s proceedings, Wong and 14 others decided to withdraw their appeals against convictions for their involvement in an anti-Lynas protest in 2014.

Lawyer Hon Kai Ping told High Court judge Justice Zainal Azman Ab Aziz that his clients had agreed to withdraw their appeals with the understanding that the respondent would do the same.

Speaking outside the court later, Hon said his clients felt they had partially achieved their goal with the change of government in the last general election.

“The ministry has also decided to impose two additional pre-conditions on Lynas after that.

“My clients feel they have gotten the publicity and progress they wanted and they will like to move on,” he said.