Published: Tuesday March 20, 2012 MYT 1:44:00 PM
By M. MAGESWARI
KUALA LUMPUR: A High Court judge has ordered the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to explain details of the approval given for the Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Gebeng, Pahang.
High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Rohana Yusuf on Tuesday asked AELB to file an affidavit to explain the approval.
She made the order after hearing submissions in chambers from lead counsel Tommy Thomas, acting for a group of 10 local residents who filed an application for leave for a judicial review.
The residents filed the application on Feb 17, challenging AELB’s decision to grant a temporary operating licence (TOL) to Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd over the proposed construction of a rare earth processing plant.
Co-counsel K. Shamuga, who acted for the residents, told reporters that Justice Rohana has asked AELB to file the affidavit and explain what Lynas could do with approval of the TOL.
Shanmuga said they submitted that the residents did not need to appeal to the relevant minister over the proposed plant as the decision was irrational.
He said they told the judge that Malaysian Medical Association had also called for the Lynas plant to be scrapped unless it was shown to be fail-safe.
“We also submitted that there is a conflict of interest as Lynas has to pay certain percentage of revenue to AELB,” he said.
He said that they also submitted that there was no dispute that Lynas had no detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
“We are saying that the entire approval (of TOL) is illegal. Therefore, you do not need to appeal to the minister and can come for a judicial review where the court can quash the TOL,” he added.
The judge set April 4 to hear the Government’s reply.
The residents named AELB, the director-general of Environment Quality and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd as respondents. The applicants are asking for leave to quash AELB’s decision, made on Jan 30, in granting the TOL.