Malaysia

MCA: No to Lynas licence if waste not sent abroad

By Yow Hong Chieh
April 03, 2012

Anti-Lynas protestors attend an opposition-backed rally by Himpunan Hijau in Kuantan in February. — file picAnti-Lynas protestors attend an opposition-backed rally by Himpunan Hijau in Kuantan in February. — file picKUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — MCA will not agree to Lynas Corp getting a permit for its rare earth refinery here if waste from the plant is not shipped overseas, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said today.

The MCA president said the “waste in the country, no go for Lynas” stance would be conveyed by MCA leaders to the Cabinet and the Economic Council.

“Waste must be disposed of outside the country and that should be the factory’s responsibility...

“As long as they cannot fulfil this, MCA will object to Lynas getting an operating licence,” he told reporters after a party presidential council meeting at Wisma MCA here.

Dr Chua reiterated that the party would not support the Lynas plant if scientific evidence proves it would endanger the lives of residents living near the Gebeng, Kuantan site or the environment.

He also said he was disappointed in DAP for boycotting the parliamentary select committee on the issue as it had been the opposition party’s vice chairman, Dr Tan Seng Giaw, who first mooted its formation on February 26.

“Hardly less than three weeks later, Lim Guan Eng said no, we will not participate. We understand that they have been infighting in DAP, like Karpal Singh and Ramasamy, but they should not compromise on national issues,” he said.

Thousands of anti-Lynas protestors attended an opposition-backed rally by Himpunan Hijau in Kuantan in February, the largest protest yet against the plant which is expected to fire up later this year.

Critics allege that Lynas Corp has failed to provide enough assurances as to how it will handle the low-level radioactive waste that will be produced at the plant, some 25km from Kuantan city centre.

But the Australian miner maintains that waste from the Gebeng plant will not be hazardous and can be easily recycled for commercial applications.

Parliament approved a select committee on Lynas on March 20 amid opposition furore over its terms of reference and suspicion that the nine-man panel will be used to “whitewash” the issue.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers also questioned the point of the panel given that the prime minister has already said the government will not be bound by its findings.