KUALA LUMPUR: Two groups – one supporting and the other opposing Lynas’ rare earth processing plants in Malaysia – held peaceful demonstrations concurrently in front of Parliament on Wednesday (April 10).
The two groups held separate demonstrations on the opposite sides of the road.
The demonstration against Lynas’ operations, which saw the participation of 61 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), was led by “Selamatkan Malaysia dan Hentikan Lynas” (SMHL).
Its chairman Tan Bun Tee said that the operating licences of the Australian company should be suspended in order to stop environmental pollution.
“The Pakatan Harapan government should have kept its promises and not allow a dangerous factory like Lynas to operate in the country.
“We don’t want Lynas to be in Kuantan. Why must Kuantan accept a factory like this?
“The Pakatan government should listen to the people. Please shut down this factory,” he said.
Tan also took a shot at the Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, labelling him a “ludicrous” Cabinet minister for supporting Lynas’ operation.
During the demonstration, cries of “save Malaysia” and “stop Lynas from polluting our environment” could be heard.
They gathered at 9am and left at around 11am.
Meanwhile, the pro-Lynas group was led by Lynas’ Radiation Safety, Regulations and Compliance general manager Dr Ismail Bahari.
Leading a group of Lynas workers, he said that the company had conducted its operations safely for six years.
“We, Lynas workers, can confirm that with our qualifications and experience in handling this factory, we have always prioritised the safety of ourselves, our colleagues, the community and the environment,” he added.
The pro-Lynas group left around 10.15am.
It was reported that Lynas is considering undertaking initial ore processing close to its Australian mine after the government mounted pressure on the rare earths mining company.
Last Friday (April 5), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said companies interested in acquiring Lynas had pledged to remove low-level radioactivity before shipping raw materials into the country.