Govt's decision to extend Lynas' licence draws mixed views

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 15 Aug 2019

KUANTAN: The government's decision to allow Lynas a six-month extension to its operating licence has drawn mixed views from an anti-Lynas activist and a residents representative.

Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL) chairman Tan Bun Teet said the conditions set out by Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) was more stringent this time although there were still some loopholes.

"The water leach purification (WLP) waste is being properly considered for disposal this time. Lynas also has to submit a plan on its cracking and leaching facility as well as a specific site for a permanent disposal facility (PDF).

"It is also stated specifically now that Lynas has to produce an official, written permission from the authorities of whichever country it plans to send the WLP residue to, which shows that the government is holding Lynas to its earlier commitment.

"But does Lynas have the means to find a suitable site? Also, it is never mentioned how much time will be given for Lynas to build the PDF.

"If they are not forced to build it, Lynas can just delay for as long as it wants. It is baffling AELB has left such a gaping hole in its conditions, " said Tan.

He added that stopping all research into the reuse of WLP was a fair move and proposed that Lynas' research funding be kept by the government as a special fund to compensate workers should they develop illnesses.

Tan said the conditions sounded fine on paper but when it came to enforcement, he suggested that stakeholders be roped in as well to ensure Lynas adhered to it strictly.

"The AELB must get someone who knows this business. Previously, I understand an NGO that did not know much about Lynas' operations was part of the monitoring committee. This cannot happen under Pakatan Harapan's watch, " he said.

Despite that, Tan said the rally planned for this Sunday (Aug 18) would still carry on as SMSL had its reasons for doing so.

Among the activities to be held at the rally would be a presentation taking a jab at Pakatan's "U-turns" and the burning of the Pakatan manifesto.

Meanwhile, Kampung Balok village community management council chairman Mansor Mokhtar welcomed AELB's decision, calling it the right move.

"This shows the government has an open mind towards investors like Lynas. They are aware Lynas is good for the locals, the economy and the development of Kuantan, " he said.

However, Mansor questioned why the WLP could not be recycled if it could be proven that the material was safe.

"Why send the WLP out of the country or stop research into it when the residue can be reused here? If it is proven safe, then why not?

"It will present a whole new set of issues to be dealt with if the WLP is required to be stored permanently, " he said.

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