KUANTAN: Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah is supportive of healthy debates on the issue of Lynas' residues.
The Indera Mahkota MP said he understood the main contention was about the water leach purification (WLP) and neutralisation underflow (NUF) residues produced from processing rare earth at the Lynas refinery in Gebeng here.
"There's about 450,000 tonnes of WLP and some 1.5 million tonnes of NUF now.
"The debate is whether it's safe or not? Whether it has high or low radioactivity?
"The benefits of rare earth is not being questioned because it is widely known. The question is on the possibility of something undesirable occurring," he said after visiting the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant here Saturday (April 20).
Saifuddin said his interest was for the two parties involved in the scientific argument on Lynas' residues to have a healthy debate.
"After that, we can all evaluate the weight of the arguments," he said.
Lynas Malaysia radiation safety, regulations and compliance general manager Dr Ismail Bahari said the company was always open to healthy discussions on its operations.
"That is our offer since the beginning. We do not have any restrictions and will meet with anyone with only one intention, to find out the truth.
"If there's no agreement, we can work towards that," said Dr Ismail.
Saifuddin said he did not have the mandate to comment on development in the Lynas issue as this was under the jurisdiction of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin.
"I can only say that we give this issue serious attention, like any other issue.
"Of course, I discuss this matter as a member of the Cabinet. Furthermore, as the Indera Mahkota MP, I am involved on the administrative side of things, looking at this issue and giving my attention to the debate, process and the voices of the people.
"The Cabinet is taking every factor into consideration," he said when asked the Cabinet's current position on Lynas' waste management was.
However, Saifuddin said as an MP whose constituency is where Lynas was located, he had asked Yeo whether she would visit the plant.
"She answered positively that she will come and visit. But I do not know when," he said.
Saifuddin added that his priority was the welfare of Lynas workers. He said the workers told him they were not in any trade union.
To this, Lynas vice-president of people and culture Mimi Afzan Afza said that they had an internal focus group.
"The staff have regular discussions with the management on any issue that may arise such as things that need improvement. Then we settle it amicably," she said after the press conference.