12:16PM Feb 22, 2012
The government has been challenged to ‘fix the rare earth disaster’ in Bukit Merah, Perak, before pushing through the new plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.
Himpunan Hijau 2.0 said only this can prove that the government is serious about ensuring the safety of the Lynas Advanced Material Processing (Lamp) plant in Gebeng.
Speaking to reporters at the PAS headquarters today, committee chairperson Wong Tack(centre in photo)said: “The government does not have a good track record. Clean up Bukit Merah, then we talk.”
He was referring to the adverse impact on the health of residents around the Asia Rare Earth refinery in Bukit Merah, which was operational from the 1980s.
The plant, closed in the 1994 after about a decade of protests, has been linked to a surge in birth defects and child leukaemia.
Mitsubishi Chemicals is still in the process of cleaning up the waste left by the plant.
Wong also questioned Australian firm Lynas’ experience in rare earth refining.
What laws and procedure
Wong also claimed that the authorities had in fact flouted the “laws and procedure”, which International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamad said had guided their decision on the Lamp plant.
“They approved the project with only a preliminary environmental impact assessment, without having the detailed EIA,” he said.
He said this and the award of a temporary operating licence are unheard of in the industry, that this is not the “professional” thing to do so, as claimed by the minister.
“It is totally senseless, foolish and unacceptable to the people,” he said.
Questioning the Department of Environment’s silence on the matter, Wong noted that the effects of Lamp would be felt nationwide and therefore, should not be viewed as a localised issue.