Fuziah: Media blacked out PM's condition that Lynas ships waste back to Australia

PETALING JAYA: The main condition for renewing the Lynas license is that its waste must be shipped back to Australia, but the media blacked out that part, says Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh.

"I watched in detail the interview of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Japan on the Lynas issue.

"The issue of the Lynas radioactive waste was explained in detail by the Prime Minister, but it was not reported by the media. The media only reported a part of the Prime Minister's speech, which touched on the investment and licensing aspect only, without relating it to the radioactive waste," said Fuziah in a statement released on Friday (May 31).

She said the radioactive waste from Lynas was a public issue, and remained at the core of the decision on licensing with the Australian company.

"Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin has placed the condition of returning the radioactive waste back to its country of origin as the precursor to renewing its operation license in Lynas in Gebeng.

"Yeo will also be going to Australia in mid-June to discuss this matter.

"The people should give space for the minister to find a way to realise the condition, and the people should continue to pressure Lynas to be responsible for its radioactive waste, without any compromise," said Fuziah.

She further demanded that Lynas uphold their written agreement in 2012 to return its waste to Australia.

In the past six years since it set up plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, rare earth materials producer Lynas has been slammed for being silent on the lifespan of its radioactive waste, which is claimed to have long-term effects on people's health and the environment.

At the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo on Thursday (May 30), Dr Mahathir said that Malaysia had "bad experience" with radioactive waste in the past, and is wary of the hazards of radioactive material if not disposed of properly.

He was referring to Bukit Merah, which became a landfill for the tin tailings from tin mining back in 1990s, after a plant was closed down as it was found that the radioactive waste was causing miscarriages and leukemia among the residents around there.

"Malaysia has had bad experience with radioactivity. Since then, we do not like radioactive material. Since Lynas produces radioactive material, we wanted them to ship out the radioactive material back to the country where the raw material comes from, but the country of origin does not want to accept it. We are going to talk to them but if we fail, of course we need to do something with the raw material - maybe spread it somewhere so that there is no concentrated radioactive material in one place, but we will allow Lynas to carry on, because otherwise we are going to lose a very big investment from Australia," said Dr Mahathir to a query from a journalist in Tokyo.


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