The Court of Appeal has fixed Dec 19 to hear the appeal by the Kuantan residents for a stay in their bid to stop the operation of the controversial Lynas rare earth plant until the residents’ judicial review application is disposed of.
Justice Ramly Ali, who is leading the three-member bench, allowed the postponement, as it fixed the hearing of the appeal for the stay proper rather then hear their notice of motion for an interim stay pending appeal which was fixed for today.
The application was sought by the residents after counsel for the residents, Bastian Vendargon, informed the court that they had just received a thick bundle of documents from Lynas today objecting to the stay application.
“We need time to get our experts’ reply to the affidavit,” he said.
Lynas council Cecil Abraham said while they do not object to the application for a postponement, he pointed out the affidavits filed (to oppose the application) are relatively the same as those filed in the Kuantan High Court.
Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bol Hassan did not object to the residents’ request.
Justice Ramly said rather than postpone the application for an interim stay, the court proposed to hear the appeal for stay directly, winning the concurrence of all the concerned parties.
The other members in the panel are Justices Azahar Mohamed and Aziah Ali.
On Nov 8, the Kuantan High Court refused to grant a stay of the operation of the Lynas plant pending the disposal of their judicial review application to quash the decision by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Ongkili in granting a temporary operating licence (TOL).
The residents also filed an Erinford injunction seeking a temporary stay order a week later for a temporary stay pending appeal, but this was disallowed by Justice Mariana Yahya, resulting in today’s application.
The decision in Kuantan meant that since Nov 8, the Lynas plant in Gebeng, Kuantan has been allowed to operate. The judicial review application proper has been fixed for hearing at the Kuantan High Court on Feb 5.
Tan: Smoke from chimney
It was reported that 102 containers carrying rare earth had arrived at the Kuantan Port on Nov 21, where they were transported under heavy police escort to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp), about 7km away in Gebeng.
Save Malaysia Stop Lynas chairperson Tan Bun Teet, who arrived with a busload of supporters from Kuantan and Segamat, told reporters that residents are concerned that the firm may start operations.
“We see smoke coming out of the plant’s chimney. We do not actually know whether they have actually started operations but we are extremely concerned with the development since the rare earth has arrived.
“There are also readings saying the plant is in operation at the signs outside the plant and also the Kuantan police station, but the residents do not know what they mean as this was not explained by the plant.”
Today, Tan said their counsel had to apply for the postponement today as the court had agreed to set a proper hearing date to hear their appeal for a stay.