Lynas fails to get injunction to gag NGOs


Malaysiakini
Aidila Razak
3:14PM Jul 26, 2012

Rare earth company Lynas Corporation today failed in its bid to gag NGO Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) from making public statements against it.
In his judgement Justice Louis O Hara said that the evidence presented before him was “insufficient” to grant the injunction.”At this preliminary stage…it is not required for the court to give a definitive decision (on whether there is defamation) without hearing all the evidence.

“With defence of qualified privilege and fair comment having been pleaded, I’m not satisfied that the affidavit evidence before me is sufficient,” the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge said.The application was dismissed with cost of RM5,000.

Justice O’ Hara found that public interest is a “relevant and weighty” defence as the public has the right to know.

Victory for freedom of speech

Speaking to reporters later, SMSL’s lawyer Bastian Vendargon said that the decision can be seen as a victory for freedom of speech.”When he says he is upholding all cases before this, he is careful not to interfere with freedom of speech,” he said.
Commenting on the decision, SMSL leader Tan Bun Teet (left)  who was at the court house with more than 100 supporters from Kuantan, Pahang, said it was a “small victory” for their struggle.

“All this while we were speaking out of public interest and not for ulterior motives or personal gain,” he said.

“We hope that in the suit proper (the defamation trial), the whole world would know whatever comments on Lynas and statements on its effects on the community nearby, are true.”

He added that SMSL will now launch a nationwide tour to educate the public on the alleged dangers of the Lynas Advance Material Plant for rare earth refining, at Gebeng, near Kuantan.Bun Teet also revealed that he and two other activists, in their capacity as Kuantan residents, are planning to file a judicial review at the Kuantan High Court against the award of the temporary operating licence for the rare earth plant by the Atomic Energy Licencing Board.

Vice chairperson Ismail Abu Bakar and two other Kuantan residents will also file a judicial review at the Kuantan High Court against the Minister of Science and Technology Maxmimus Ongkili, on his decision to reject their appeal on the Lynas TOL.

Giant wounded

Also present was NGO Komas representative Tan Jo Hann who said that today SMSL had “wounded a big giant” which it will finally kill.On April 19, Lynas Corporation of Sydney, Australia, and Lynas Malaysia filed the suit against SMSL Sdn Bhd and its two directors, Tan Bun Teet and Lim Sow Teow, and three volunteers Hang Chong Leung, Lee Chow Fong and Ismail Abu Bakar, over an allegedly defamatory article published on its blog, on Mar 22.
The defamation case is set for case management on Aug 18.

Speaking on the case, Bastian said that he has expressed intention to the judge that he will apply for the case to be transferred to the Kuantan High Court for the convenience of the parties, most of whom are based in Pahang.

He will file the application, as well as another application for the court to compel Lynas to provide the defendants with sought documents, next week.

Lynas gagal peroleh injunksi ke atas NGO

Malaysiakini
Aidila Razak
4:07PM Jul 26 2012

Syarikat nadir bumi Lynas Corporation hari ini gagal dalam usahanya untuk menghalang NGO Save Malaysia Stop Lynas daripada membuat kenyataan umum ke atasnya.

NONEHakim Datuk John Louis O Hara berkata bukti yang dikemukakan di hadapannya “tidak memadai” untuk mendapatkan injunksi.

Katanya, pada peringkat awal ini, mahkamah tidak perlu memberi keputusan muktamad sama ada wujud fitnah, tanpa mendengar kesemua bukti.

Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur itu berkata, bukti afidavit yang dikemukakan di hadapannya tidak memadai, memandangkan pembelaan telah mengemukakan rayuan perlidungan bersyarat dan ulasan yang wajar.

[Baca berita penuh]

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/204698

Fuziah: Permohonan maaf tak gugat penolakan Lynas

(Oleh Norutul Ilham)

KUALA LUMPUR 19 Julai: Ahli Parlimen Kuantan, Fuziah Salleh berkata, kumpulan anti Lynas sama sekali tidak terkesan berhubung permohonan maaf oleh portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) kepada syarikat daripada Australia itu.

Tegas beliau, walau apapun berlaku, kumpulan tersebut berpendirian untuk tidak menyokong projek loji nuklear di Gebeng Kuantan itu.

“Kumpulan anti Lynas tidak takut dengan permohonan maaf FMT kerana kita ada golongan profesional yang mempunyai alasan kukuh untuk menolak Lynas.

“Memang mereka tidak mahu Lynas beroperasi di kawasan kediaman mereka,” kata Fuziah ketika dihubungi.

Tambah Fuziah, FMT bertindak demikian bagi mengelakkan kos guaman dan pembaziran masa melalui perbicaraan di mahkamah.

“FMT tidak mahu meneruskannya kerana mungkin sebagai media, mereka tidak mahu masa terbuang dengan kes mahkamah.

“Mereka juga sebagai pelapor, bukannya penduduk dan penyokong kumpulan anti Lynas. Jadi mereka mengambil keputusan untuk memohon maaf sahaja,” katanya.

Dalam pada itu, beliau turut mempertikai kerajaan yang meluluskan Lesen Menduduki Sementara (TOL), sedangkan operasi loji Lynas belum mendapat kelulusan.

“TOL sudah diluluskan, AELB (Lembaga Perlesenan Tenaga Atom) juga kata selamat, PSC (Jawatankuasa Khas Parlimen) kata selamat, semua itu hanya bayang-bayang mereka berdepan Lynas.

“Kalau betul selamat, kenapa tidak mahu teruskan projek Lynas, atau pun tunggu lepas pilihan raya, baru mahu mula operasi,” tegasnya.

Short URL: http://www.keadilandaily.com/?p=33050

‘Don’t compare French plant to Lynas’

Malaysiakini
2:12pm Jul 9, 2012

Stop Lynas Save Malaysia (SMSL) today refuted Academy of Sciences Malaysia’s (ASM) assertion that the Lynas plant in Gebeng would be safe.

NONESMSL spokesperson Tan Bun Teet (right) condemned Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) CEO Ahmad Ibrahim for justifying this using a comparison with the Rhodia rare earth plant in La Rochelle, France.

“The French Rhodia plant in La Rochelle cannot be compared with the Lynas refinery in Gebeng.

“Rhodia has stopped using rare earth materials containing thorium, whereas the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) uses raw ore concentrate, containing both radioactive thorium and uranium”, he said.

He was referring to a report on Rare Metal Blog citinig a rare earth expert that La Rochelle was forced to utilise radioactivity-free rare earths due to French government restrictions on thorium waste disposal.

The Malaysian government has yet to impose such restrictions on Lynas, said SMSL.

‘Rhodia to leave radioactive waste in Gebeng’

Last Wednesday Bernama reported Ahmad saying that based on the experience of the La Rochelle plant, that uses the same technology as the Gebeng plant “without incident”, the latter should face no problems.

azlan“ASM research found that there were no technical problems for Lynas to operate because sources that would be processed from China and Australia are the same sources that had been processed at the 50-year factory in France.

“Imagine that the factory has operated nearly 50 years in the tourism city, La Rochelle, in France, and is still strong and certified as safe,” Bernamaquoted him saying.

Tan however claimed that as the La Rochelle plant is now using radioactive-free materials, it allegedly has plans to source refined rare earths from the Gebeng plant.

“In 2010, Rhodia signed a 10-year contract with Lynas to purchase its rare earth oxides from the Malaysian plant which is radioactive-free, since the radioactive materials would be removed and be left in Malaysia (by the refining process),” said Tan.

He added that Rhodia’s record as a clean rare earth refinery was not spotless, citing unacceptably high acidity and chemical oxygen demand (COD, which measures toxicity of the waste) levels in the water outside one of its rare earth refineries in Liyang, China.

“In 2008, it (Liyang) was found also to have caused pollution through wastewater discharge from its plant – its COD exceeded the legal limit by 6.9 times, and phosphate concentration was measured at 0.628mg/L,” he said.

ASM truly independent?

Tan slammed ASM – a government-linked body established under the Academy of Sciences Act 1994 – for lending its name to a commercial project, asking who was funding the body and if it has any financial relationships with the rare earths industry.

NONE“Has the ASM received grants or donations from Lynas, or any of its industries downstream?

“If so, it is crucial that the ASM disclose details of its financial relationships so that the public is clear about whose interests it represents,” he said.

“Is Ibrahim not concerned that by lending his name and that of the ASM (to Lamp), his ethical standard and professional integrity as well as the independence of the ASM as a professional body for our country’s scientific community will be questioned?” he added.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/203079

Himpunan Hijau calls for GREEN Merdeka Day

HIMPUNAN HIJAU PRESS RELEASE, 18 July 2012

The nation is faced with massive environmental destructions. All across the country, projects like the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant, Petrochemical plant in Pengerang, gold mining in Bukit Koman, iron ore refinery in Teluk Rubiah, destructive energy development corridor in Sarawak, proposed nuclear plants, massive dams and forest clearance, will bring serious irreversible environmental destructions and suffering to our people of this generation and generations to come.

“It is clear all these were the result of blatant corruption, abuse of power and collapse of administrative functions,” said Wong Tack, chairperson of Himpunan Hijau.

Himpunan Hijau has decided to turn the coming Merdeka Day into a truly GREEN Merdeka Day. This national campaign will evoke patriotic spirit and empower the people to free our nation from all these dark forces and restore our country’s dignity and sovereignty.

Therefore, to make this Merdeka day meaningful, we urge all Malaysians to rise up and send the strongest message to the current regime. The rakyat have grave concerns about the wellbeing of our future generations. The rakyat want to have a say on how the country should be run. Putting on a green T-shirt is the simplest way for all of us to display our patriotic spirit to our beloved nation. We encourage people to use their own imagination and creativity to hold peaceful community green gatherings or events to express this spirit. Make it EXCITING, make it INTENSE, with strong message, yet in the most peaceful manner!

A hundred national leaders to kick-off Himpunan Hijau’s BLOCKADE

“Judging from the continuos irresponsible actions, gimmicks and lies from the current regime, we believe MOSTI and AELB will issue the Temporary Operating Licence in the very near future.

“When that moment comes, we are certain people will come all out for the final battle,” said Wong Tack.

“As I criss-crossed across the nation, I have observed that responsible Malaysians have gained strong awareness and will not tolerate injustice. They have expressed strong commitment to respond to Himpunan Hijau BLOCKADE campaign’s clarion call to join their brothers and sisters in Kuantan to ensure not an ounce of Lynas’ toxic ores reach our shores,” added Wong Tack.

To kick-off this final battle against this evil foreign power, Himpunan HIjau will call upon one hundred most respected and prominent national leaders from civil movements, NGOs, creative and artistic community, religious groups, businesses and political parties to stand in the frontline to champion this campaign.

We are overwhelmed that at the first hour of our decision, national laureate and co-chairperson of Bersih 2.0, A. Samad Said, both the President and the secretary-general of the Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Tan Yew Sing and Stanley Yong, PAS Environmental Bureau Chief, Zulkefly Mohamad bin Omar, Hishamuddin Rais, ‘Superman’ Hew Kuan Yau, PSM secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, Haris Ibrahim (ABU) and Suara Bulan Honorary Advisor, Jeff Lee have responded to our call.

The prime strategy of the Himpunan Hijau BLOCKADE campaign is to confront Lynas and this regime with massive people’s power. As we have promised, we’ll see wave after wave of people’s actions.

“The authority may take away the first line from Kuantan, but we assure you the whole Pahang will step forward. If they take away everyone from Pahang, Selangor will come forward and so on. As we have stated, we will fight Lynas until the last man standing,” said Wong Tack.

Steering Committee of HIMPUNAN HIJAU
————————————————————————————————–
Members of the Himpunan Hijau Steering Committee :
Wong Tack (Chairperson), Andansura Rabu, Bang Seet Ping, Clement Chin Yee Kaing, Lee Chean Chung, Lee Chin Chen, Nasrun Amir, Ooi Boon Seng, Dr. Phua Kia Yaw and V.Arumugam.

Email : himpunanhijau@gmail.com
FB : Himpunan Hijau 2.0 : Langkah Lestari
Twitter : Himpunan Hijau 2.0

SMSL Will FIGHT Lynas Till The End

Press statement of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
July 18, 2012

In a recent International Business Times (IBT) article, it was misreported that SMSL has apologised to the Lynas Corporation and has retracted a statement made about its rare earth refinery plant. Accessed at http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/363755/20120717/malaysia-rare-earths.htm#.UAYv8dV0xVv

This news story is erroneous and factually incorrect because SMSL has made NO such apology or retraction. SMSL is determined to and will continue to defend the rights of citizens to free speech, to campaign for a clean and safe future for our family and our country.

Mr Tan Bun Teet, the spokesperson for SMSL said, “I have written to the Editor of IBT to seek an immediate public apology and to correct the article. The IBT journalist should have contacted SMSL about it before putting the story out.”

SMSL is committed to fighting Lynas until the end, including the Lynas defamation suit. It is the online news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that has chosen to apologise to Lynas and retracted the so-claimed defamatory statement. Its action has no bearing or any association with SMSL’s current or future direction on the Stop Lynas campaign.

“SMSL will take up the relevant legal action against the IBT if no apology is
forthcoming by the end of today and if no retraction is made. SMSL will also lodge a complaint with the Australian Journalists Association which is strict on journalistic ethics and professionalism.” Added Mr Tan.

“SMSL remained firmed on our stance and our statements about the Lynas rare earth plant because we have reliable information and relevant professional experts to back up our statements in court.” He asserted.

Towards this end, SMSL is highly appreciative of the strong spirit of solidarity and support demonstrated by civil society groups and concerned individuals all over Malaysia and overseas.

The Lynas rare earth project is not just a Kuantan issue as it will affect the whole nation. We should always be mindful of that.

The 12-year tax break granted to the project is the most ludicrous political decision the government has made.

Tax payers and citizens expect a Government to exercise its duty of care to ensure a nation’s well beings and long-term future are secured not to subject citizens to the risks of Lynas’ radiation and toxic waste.

SMSL and concerned citizens will converge at the Kuala Lumpur High court
tomorrow 19th July from 3.30pm onwards to await the court decision on Lynas’ defamation application.

“We welcome any concerned Malaysians to come along to show Lynas that we are a proud people with integrity and courage. Join us in our fight against the risks and hazards of the world’s largest rare earth plant.”

http://www.savemalaysia-stoplynas.blogspot.com/

Pakatan’s sexy 10

Free Malaysia Today
Selena Tay
| July 14, 2012

The smart are virile but the dumb and dirty are the ones obssesed with sex 24/7.

COMMENT

Sex is one topic that can override all other issues, even corruption. Therefore, Barisan Nasional has chosen to attack Pakatan Rakyat leaders using this issue.

Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali (both from PKR) had to deal with these issues and now DAP’s Lim Guan Eng is having to fend off these sex scandal attacks.

BN’s pre-occupation with sex shows that BN is fixated with it. With this sort of mind, can they run the nation efficiently and in a clean manner? It is thus not a surprise that the Malaysian political scene must be the most sexed-up political scene in the whole, wide world.

Be that as it may, while BN has sex, Pakatan Rakyat is sexy.

Following this columnist’s previous article on the Pakatan Rakyat “shadow cabinet” on June 23, here is the list of Pakatan’s 10 sexiest politicians and the reason why they are on the list:

1. Anwar Ibrahim (PKR MP, Permatang Pauh)

2. Rafizi Ramli (PKR strategist)

3. Baru Bian (PKR state assemblyman, Ba Ke’la’lan in Sarawak)

4. Fuziah Salleh (PKR MP, Kuantan)

5. N Surendran (PKR Vice-President)

6. Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS MP, Kuala Selangor)

7. Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS MP, Bukit Gantang)

8. Tony Pua (DAP MP, Petaling Jaya Utara)

9. M Manogaran (DAP MP, Teluk Intan)

10. Dr Michael Jeyakumar (Parti Sosialis Malaysia MP, Sg Siput)

The common factor prevalent in all the above politicians is intelligence, guts and having a particular speciality in their cause. Being intelligent is sexy. Intelligence is the new sexy.

As none of them had experienced helming the nation at the top level, save for Anwar as deputy prime minister and finance minister, we can only judge them by their words and their deeds.

Top on the list is Anwar Ibrahim himself. He gets to be in the list for saying that petrol price will be reduced the very next day if he becomes prime minister. Now this is sexy indeed and this columnist is expecting the price of RON95 to be reduced from the current RM1.90 to RM1.40 if indeed he becomes the prime minister. This is a reasonable demand considering the fact that one of Malaysia’s natural resources is petroleum.

During his tenure as finance minister, the EPF (Employees Provident Fund) and banks’ fixed deposit rates were quite good. Now the banks’ ordinary fixed deposit rates are chicken feed. For those who have little money, the bank is just a safe-box.

The rest

No 2 on the list is Rafizi Ramli, he of the Feedlot fame. He gets into the list by virtue of his sexy exposé on the cattle-condo caper and the Ampang-LRT saga.

No 3 is Baru Bian who has fought for the Native Customary Rights issue for a long time. He is the Lone Ranger of Sarawak who has been doing his work quietly for the good of his people.

Next at No 4 is Fuziah Salleh, best known for her fight against Lynas although she has now taken a backseat to let the non-governmental organisations head the struggle.

No 5 is N Surendran, the PKR vice-president who is actively fighting for citizenship for Indians still having permanent resident status. He has recently received an acid threat.

Next at No 6 is Dzulkefly Ahmad. This Islamic Democrat is an erudite intellectual and represents the new face of PAS today. He has written lengthy pieces on economic issues which resemble some academic treatise.

He is the only MP in Parliament whom BN MPs dare not scold “Duduklah, bodoh” (Sit down, stupid) when he stands up to speak. Most probably they fail to understand what he is saying as they are way below his intellectual level.

At No 7 is Nizar Jamaluddin, the former Perak Menteri Besar. He put up a gutsy fight to prevent the downfall of Perak and to this day is still popular with Perakians. During his short tenure, the Pakatan state government gave many land titles to those who have been waiting for it for donkey’s years. He is one of those responsible for creating the most united Paktan team among all the states in Malaysia.

No 8 goes to Tony Pua. He is the economics wizard in Pakatan. He easily put MCA’s Labis MP, Chua Tee Yong, in place in regard to the Talam Corporation issue wherein the junior Chua only succeeded in exposing his own oversight in the principles of accounting due to his inability to understand the principle of “round-tripping”.

Next at No 9 is M Manogaran, the DAP MP for Teluk Intan, who is always at the forefront in regard to Indian issues and will be contesting a KL seat in the coming 13th general election.

To round off the list at No 10 is Dr Michael Jeyakumar of PSM for his courage and those of his party members and volunteers in organising the Bersih 2.0 roadshow last year. They were detained under the Emergency Ordinance and became known as the EO6. Subsequently, they were freed after much hue and cry from civil society.

Stupid is not sexy

Perhaps this list will again generate much debate – too many from one party, uneven racial balance, etc. But this is just a small sample to highlight a little of the Pakatan politicians’ expertise.

There is no reason to get all worked up over it unlike a local television station which had a forum whereby the Pakatan “shadow cabinet” was severely criticised by pro-BN panellists.

This columnist finds the forum laughable because BN’s insecurity is showing to the extent that they even feel threatened by “shadows”.

However, pertaining to the list above, this columnist is sure that there is no one in the BN camp who can match up to those named in the list.

While BN is obsessed with sex 24/7, their ideas are not sexy at all. Ditto for their strategy which is nothing but fluff.

The system is all screwed up and therefore we need a clean and intelligent government to chart the course of this nation. Moreover, stupid is not sexy.

Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2012/07/14/pakatans-sexy-10/

Malaysiakini – Landslide vote against Lynas in mock referendum

  • Nigel Aw
  • 10:22PM Jul 14, 2012

Voters in a mock referrendum has overwhelmingly rejected the RM700 million Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

NONEOrganised by NGO Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia (SMSL), the mock voting was carried out in 19 cities and towns across Malaysia.

The results, which was announced close to 9pm, saw landslide votes against the rare earth processing plant with some centres having virtually zero vote in support for Lynas.

When contacted, SMSL spokesperson Steve Hang said after all ballots have been counted, a total of 20,194 people voted against Lynas, while six were in favour.

NONEA total of 28 locations in Malaysia participated but only 19 places held the mock voting. The other areas had signature campaign, pickets and even flash mob,” he said.

Hang added that an estimated a total of 26,000 people nationwide had participated in the ‘National Day of Stop Lynas Action’.

Four cities in Australia had also joined in with their own protest against Lynas, he added.

Voting began simultaneously today at around 5pm for most areas in Malaysia while the earliest was in Bukit Merah, Perak where voting took place from 7am to 9am.

NONEBukit Merah was the site of the Asian Rare Earth plant which has been accused of causing an increase of cancer cases in the 1990s among the local populace.

Queuing up at the mock voting centres, voters of various age and colour in towns and villages dropped their ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote on Lynas into prepared ballot boxes.

‘Vote matters’

When contacted, SMSL chairperson Tan Bun Teet said the results reflected the sentiments of the people against the controversial plant, which is seen as a crucial facility to break China’s stranglehold on the rare earth market.

NONEHowever, he added that regardless of the results, the mock referendum today was to send to a message to Malaysians about the significance of their votes.

“Our focus is not actually on how many people voted against or for Lynas. Our focus is teaching people that the vote in their hand counts and really matters.

NONE“We hope people who voted today will realise that the act of voting is important to ensure whether we live in a hazard-free environment or do we continue to vote a government that does not care about the welfare of the people,” he said.

He added that the many locations which conducted the voting today were also afflicted by environmental issues and are part of a network of the green movement.

 

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/203675

Lynas, Cancer and You

Lynas, Cancer and You

Malaysia Chronicle
Saturday, 14 July 2012 20:22
Written by  Pak Bui

What’s the problem with Lynas?

In a nutshell, it’s an identical issue to the Taib family’s Pressmetal Aluminium Smelter in Mukah. It shares the same origins as Taib’s land grabs, the greed that turns priceless forests into cheap plywood and oil palm.

The problem is that rich people in some faraway place, distant from Lynas, will get richer, while poor people pay with their lives.

Winners & Losers

In the case of Lynas, rich people in Umno and Australia profit, while the rakyat lose. Lynas is a mining company that has no proven track record, yet intends to ship gigantic containers of soil, laden with minerals called rare earth, from Western Australia to Gebeng, near Kuantan, Pahang.

In its factory in Gebeng, surrounded by half a million people within a 30km radius, Lynas proposes to extract the rare earth from the soil, and ship it to hungry industries manufacturing ‘smartphones’, computers and other electronic gadgets. The leftover mud will be radioactive, and Lynas has refused to say what it will do with the hazardous waste soil.

The New York Times broke the news a year ago to incredulous readers, that Lynas will be operating a factory handling radioactive materials, with no plan to dispose of the radioactive waste. The embarrassing reports exposed the Australian company’s pitiful lack of experience.

According to the New York Times (NYT), engineers have reported cracks in the storage tanks for the toxic mud. “The problems they detail include structural cracks, air pockets and leaks in many of the concrete shells for 70 containment tanks, some of which are larger than double-deckerbuses”.

Only Chinese complaining?

A Dutch supplier of resin or glue for the storage tanks, AkzoNobel, objected to cracks, moisture and shabby structural engineering in Lynas’s half-built plant. “We will not certify or even consider the use of our coatings if this problem can’t be fixed,” its spokesman told the NYT last year.

Eventually, Akzonobel declined to place its global reputation on the line, and pulled out of the project, obviously afraid that any major radioactive leak would cause a terrible human catastrophe.

Lynas and the government have failed to consult the local communities, and have played stupid, see-through public relations games. The government, including the much-ridiculed Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob, have aggressively defended Lynas, while keeping details a secret.

Adnan even used the old tactic of trying to dismiss the anti-Lynas campaign on racial grounds, implying only the Chinese were complaining. In fact, Malay farmers and fishermen stand to be the worst affected, and all local communities have been running a vigorous campaign against the radioactive plant.

Eyewitnesses say 15,000 people of all races took part in the Himpunan Hijau on February 26 in Kuantan. “I couldn’t see the edge of the crowd from where I stood,” said one protestor who had travelled four hours to get there.

Huge risks – but the rich benefit

Dangerous transport of radioactive materials, the factory itself, and the toxic waste dump, all pose unacceptable risks. Leakage, or an accident, at any of these stages would cause poisoning of the people, wildlife, soil and sea for many kilometres around, and winds would carry poisons further afield.

Anti-Lynas campaigners have pointed out that Australia does not want this polluting industry, yet Malaysia’s government has offered ten years of tax free status. Kuantan’s economy will potentially lose huge sums of money from loss of tourism, fisheries, agriculture – and from emigration of those with enough money to leave.

Why is Umno’s government is willing to risk poisoning the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands? Mahathir’s son Mokhzani, for one, was given a contract to supply the plant. Many Umno businessmen will make a fortune from this RM700 million plant – and then take the money and run. Poor local people will be left to fend for themselves.

Cancer

Since Australia refuses to take the radioactive waste back, the poison will be dumped somewhere around Kuantan. We have already witnessed the horrors of a far smaller radioactive rare earth factory and dump site in Bukit Merah and Papan, Perak, starting in 1982. There, residents reported a heartbreaking increase in children born with birth defects, learning disabilities and cancer.

A plague of blood cancer or leukaemia visited the local population of Bukit Merah. Before the rare earth factory, several years had passed without residents hearing of new cases. After ARE, eight children developed leukaemia within five years; seven of them died.

The national incidence of leukaemia is approximately 2.9 per 100,000 per year. In the local Bukit Merah and Papan community of 11,000, that leukaemia rate was a shocking five times the national average. The Malaysian government has admitted to the United Nations that the leukaemia rate there was higher than the national average, but argued there was no way of proving the rare earth waste had been responsible for this surge in numbers.

Bukit Merah’s Asian Rare Earth (ARE) factory, owned by Mitsubishi Japan, produced a tiny amount of radioactive waste compared to the sludge that will come from Lynas. ARE produced some 1,700 tonnes of radioactive waste a year for some ten years.

75 new leukaemia patients a year

Lynas proposes to create 20,000 to 50,000 tonnes of radioactive waste a year, or 10 to 30 times the amount of radioactive waste of Bukit Merah. Based on our past experience of 1,700 tonnes of toxic waste a year, as in ARE in Bukit Merah, we might be looking at 75 new leukaemia patients a year in a population the size of Kuantan’s. If the production in Lynas is 10 to 30 times that amount, we will surely see far more.

We have heard the smiling lies before, from government and industry, about radioactive waste being “safe” in Bukit Merah. Now, Umno insists on bulldozing the Lynas plant through.

Taib Mahmud and Musa Aman preside over land grabs in Sarawak and Sabah for exactly the same reasons: greed and corruption. Lynas, Bakun, and Mukah are the fruits of the same tree. Corruption is in all our backyards, and if we are to live, we must uproot this parasitic tree.

Bersih 2.0 and Himpunan Hijau were a good start, with tens of thousands showing solidarity for those of our fellow human beings under threat. If we stand together, we can one day be rid of our most shamelessly corrupt politicians.

Hornbill Unleashed

34 kota sertai perhimpunan anti-Lynas 14 Julai

Malaysiakini
1:36PM Jul 7 2012

Satu lagi pusingan perhimpunan anti-Lynas akan berlangsung serentak di 34 kota di Malaysia dan Australia pada 14 Julai akan datang susulan seruan kumpulan antiprojek nadir bumi itu Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) untuk “bertindak”.Bertemakan “kami akan undi untuk masa depan yang bersih dan selamat”, perhimpunan itu akan bermula pada jam 5 petang di sembilan negara di Malaysia dan beberapa kota di Australia termasuk Sydney, Perth dan Melbourne.

NONE“Perhimpunan peringkat kebangsaan dianjurkan oleh SMSL. Kami menjangkakan antara 15,000 hingga 20,000 orang akan mengambil bahagian.

“Ini hanya perhimpunan, bukan protes,” kata Pengerusi SMSL Tan Bun Teet dalam sidang media di Kuala Lumpur semalam.

Tan berkata, oleh kerana rakyat menuntut “persekitaran bersih dan selamat”, perhimpunan akan memasukkan juga acara pilihan raya olok-olok, yang mana setiap peserta akan diberi kertas undi bagi mengundi menerima atau menolak Lynas.