Free Malaysia Today – Lynas ‘time bomb’ has started ticking

Stephanie Sta Maria | February 2, 2012

PAS wants the government to explain the withdrawal of Lynas’ key contractor from the project.

PAS Information Chief and PAS Pahang State Commissioner Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man

PAS Information Chief and PAS Pahang State Commissioner Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man

PETALING JAYA: PAS has warned that the “time bomb” which is Lynas Corp has begun ticking with the approval of its temporary operating license yesterday.

While the two-year licence comes with five conditions it will nonetheless allow the Australia mining giant to proceed with plans to begin operations in Gebeng by the second quarter of the year.

PAS’ ominous warning follows the recent withdrawal of Lynas’ key contractor, AkzoNobel, from the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) over safety concerns.

The New York Times reported that the Dutch chemical firm has refused to supply crucial resins for Lynas’ RM2.5 billion rare earth plant citing “changes in the project specifications”.

“PAS urges the government and Lynas to explain why AzkoNobel pulled out considering it is the main contractor,” said PAS’ information chief, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, in a statement today.

He pointed out this latest development has sparked public anxieties over safety and health issues related to the LAMP, and pressed the government to divulge the necessary details.

“The fact that the licence was granted based on five non-negotiable conditions is very strange and suspect,” Ibrahim stated.

“It is pointless for thousands of people to provide their feedback if the government is going to ignore all of it.”

Ibrahim, who is also the PAS Pahang State Commissioner, emphasised that the Lynas “time bomb” has already been set in motion and held the fate of 300,000 residents in Kuantan as well as the environment there.

“Until today the people still don’t understand how the government can accept a project that poses such an enormous risk to them,” he said. “With the licence approval the time bomb has begun ticking and the government shouldn’t wait until it’s too late.”

Ibrahim reiterated an earlier call by PAS spiritual leader, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, for the people to vote Pakatan Rakyat into power in the upcoming general election if they wanted to shut Lynas down.

“This is the last resort for us to join forces in saving the people of Kuantan, Gebeng and its environment from the Lynas bomb.”

Ibrahim’s statement contradicts an earlier claim by Lynas’ executive chairman, Nicholas Curtis, that Kuantan MP, Fuziah Salleh, is its only detractor within Pakatan and that Lynas has PAS’ support.

Abysmal failure

Anti-Lynas group, Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) meanwhile slammed AELB for its “abysmal failure” as a regulator and promised to take all possible action in stopping Lynas from operating in Gebeng.

SMSL’s chairperson, Tan Bun Teet, said in a media statement that AELB’s approval totally ignored the concerns and comments provided by the public who took the trouble to wade through Lynas’ application.

“Has the AELB really understood the risks and hazards of this project?” he demanded.

“The public review was a total charade, a sham and a false pretense in public consultation. It is just another public relation exercise for the Lynas project.”

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