4:52PM Sep 5, 2012
Environmental action group Himpunan Hijau has vowed to blockade Kuantan Port if Australian rare earths miner Lynas starts to ship ores into the country for processing at the controversial Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp).
“I will guarantee that their ore shipments will not slip past our blockade. We will mount the biggest civil disobedience event ever seen in the country and get all the groups together.
“The port of Kuantan will not be operational as long as the ore is there,” vowed Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wong Tack (left).
His statement came in response to the decision of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to issue Lynas with a temporary operating licence (TOL) to operate the Lamp facility in Gebeng, Kuantan.
Wong said that they have eyes and ears in the port and would continue to monitor the situation and act decisively if and when the ores arrived.
“We are prepared, and it is up to Lynas to set the next stage.”
He declined to comment on the government’s decision to issue the TOL, except to say it clearly showed that the government had “sold out the people”.
SMSL to seek injunction
Meanwhile, in an related development, the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) group is to file an injunction in court to stop the newly-issued TOL from coming into force pending the conclusion of two legal actions it is currently pursuing.
“We have instructed our lawyers to file an injunction for a stay of the TOL (from coming into force),” SMSL spokesperson Tan Bun Teet (right) told Malaysiakini, until the two ongoing judicial review applications SMSL filed in the High Court in Kuantan are disposed of.
The first is a judicial review of the award of the TOL to Lamp by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), and the second is for Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Ongkili’s decision to reject their appeal against the same.
However, the TOL was issued by the AELB today directly to the Australian rare earth miner.
“Our lawyers have written to AELB to ask for a stay of the TOL until our legal actions have concluded. We are supposed to hear from AELB on Sept 10, But it jumped the gun and issued the licence today,” Tan lamented.
He said it appeared as if the regulator was working “hand in glove with an interested party” to foil their bid to stay the TOL.
Asked about Himpunan Hijau’s pledge to block rare earth shipments arriving through Kuantan Port, Tan said the group had SMSL’s support in this.
“We will stand behind them (in such an action),” vowed the SMSL leader.
Inside information from sources, he added, was that Lynas “is far from ready” to start operations at the Lamp.
“Even if the ores arrive, we have been told that the plant is not yet ready to start the refining process.” Tan said.
AELB disrespecting the courts
Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh also criticised AELB’s granting of the TOL to Lynas as disrespectful to the Malaysian judiciary as the cases filed by SMSL were still pending in the courts.
“This decision by AELB shows a complete disrespect of the decision of the court and by issuing the TOL to Lynas, AELB behaves as if it is above the law.
“Knowing very well that there is a loophole in the period between the decision for leave and decision on the judicial review itself, AELB took advantage of the situation to issue the TOL,” Fuziah (right) said.
Despite the hearing date set by the court for the judicial review on the decision by Ongkili to grant the licence, she pointed out, AELB still jumped the gun and issued the TOL.
Fuziah argued that Ongkili, whose decision was being challenged and was the basis for the judicial review, should know better than to agree with the issuance of the TOL to Lynas.
“Malaysia is going down the wrong way if ministers behave in this manner.”
Malaysia would surely be doomed, Fuziah lamented, when institutions such as the courts were completely disregarded by the minister and the administration, and profit and other interests were put above the lives and interests of the rakyat.