PETALING JAYA: The Pakatan Harapan government has let the people down over Lynas Malaysia's licence renewal, says MCA Publicity Bureau deputy chairman Datuk Leong Kim Soon.
He said he was unconvinced of the government's ability to reach a meaningful solution in dealing with the environmental issues posed by the rare earth producer although Pakatan had made pre-election promises to shut down the plant.
"At this point, the plan to renew Lynas' operating licence is basically just around the corner. Thus, the remarks by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin are just attempts to delay the inevitable and whitewash Lynas, " he said in a statement.
The Star reported that the government will announce its decision on Lynas Malaysia's licence renewal status by Aug 15.
Yeo said the government will also announce then whether the rare earth producer has to send its radioactive waste back to Australia or not.
She also indicated that the final decision may not be ideal, but added that it is still better than the present situation.
Leong said Yeo was merely biding time for Lynas to come up with a more convincing explanation, be it "solutions" or excuses.
"Yeo's remark bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, expressing how even though the decision may not be the ideal one, it is still better than the status quo. All these fanciful superficialities are just part of their ministerial duty, while they quietly sneak further away from their election manifesto, " added Leong.
"At the same time, Yeo Bee Yin also mentioned that officials from her Ministry would also be having a discussion in the upcoming week with several MPs who have reservations on Lynas' operations.
"This is all a political façade, as the government's motion for Lynas to continue operating is well on track, " he said.
In May, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Lynas would be allowed to continue to operate in the country.
However, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh responded to that by saying that its radioactive waste must be sent home to Australia as a condition for it to continue operating here.
On Thursday (Aug 1), Dr Mahathir said the government was still waiting for Lynas to present its plan on dealing with its rare earth processing waste.
Lynas Malaysia has also suggested building its permanent disposal factory (PDF) on disused mines in Pahang.