Nothing refined about the Lynas suit — The Malaysian Insider
It has also sent a letter of demand to The Malaysian Insider over an article that was submitted by a reader. It will be up to the lawyers to look into this.
But news portals and Malaysians should not be cowed by the Lynas legal strategy. It is their right and it does not even matter if the Australian company hires the best lawyers in the business to keep us from thinking aloud our concerns about their rare earth refinery. It is our right to care what is best for ourselves, and no legal suit can take that away from us.
What is important is that it is Malaysia and Malaysians that will decide who they want as their neighbours. That their way of life does not have the potential of being less healthy, less safe. That is why we have laws in this country. Environmental laws and other checks and balances to ensure all interests are taken care as much as possible.
In the case of the Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng, the authorities have said it is safe to operate. They are waiting to see if the waste disposal can be done safely. That is what people are afraid of. That something can go wrong. That is not worth the risk of generating 300 jobs especially when the company has a 12-year tax holiday.
Face it. Not many countries in the world are falling over each other trying to get a rare earth refinery anywhere in their backyard, be it the most remote jungles, valleys or industrial zones. But Malaysia is. Because it’s worth that much to us as a high-income developed nation. Despite a number of citizens telling the government that it isn't a good idea to import foreign radioactive ore into the country.
To be sure, Australia is strict to disallow foreign organic and even inorganic materials into the island continent. For fear of destroying their local flora and fauna. We apparently don't have those concerns although it is said we have stricter environmental laws than Down Under.
Lynas itself has warned Malaysia that any delay in opening the plant may have "very serious consequences" for RM80 billion worth of rare earth orders. That shouldn't be a consideration for Putrajaya. Its first responsibility is to all Malaysians.
After all, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should remember what he said a few days ago that he also said when taking office: that the era of government knows best is over. If he truly means it, he should listen to what Malaysians want.
It could be a catastrophe for his government if he chose to listen to Lynas and not Malaysians.