“Broken promise”: MCA slams govt’s decision to extend Lynas’ operating licence

MCA has criticised the government’s decision to renew Lynas’s operating licence, saying that license extension is a breach of campaign promises.

Despite the announcement by Lynas on Oct 20 that it would cease its operations in Malaysia, Pahang MCA Youth chairperson Wong Siew Mun said it only took four days for Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Minister Chang Lih Kang to declare the renewal of Lynas’ operating licence.

“Isn’t the licence extension a breach of campaign promises? Is this how Pakatan Harapan (PH) repays the voters’ mandate?” Wong questioned in a statement last night (Oct 25).

“[During the first PH administration], encouraged and led by PH leaders, many common folks had taken to the streets to demonstrate against the establishment and operation of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Pahang.”

Wong recalled how PH had then promised to shut down LAP, with a then-DAP candidate even threatening to “torch LAMP down” should PH capture Putrajaya.

“But when PH had unexpectedly come to power for the first time from 2018 to 2020, the PH-helmed federal government had allowed Lynas’ operating licence to continue,” she lamented.

“Today, barely a few years later, PH is once again in office and the government has against renewed the Australian rare earth producer’s operating licence, which is a huge letdown indeed.”

The MCA leader said not only has the business licence of Lynas been extended but the government had even relaxed its conditions, allowing the company to conduct the cracking and leaching process which will produce radioactive waste in the country.

Wong noted that the government had even allowed the continued storage of radioactive wastes in Malaysia, and questioned if Putrajaya had ignored the health of the people and had forgotten its pledges for expedient interests.

“[Chang] clarified at the press conference that one of the conditions for the renewal of Lynas’ licences is contingent on the company ensuring the radioactive content in water leach purification (WLP) residue is below 1 Bq/g,” she elaborated.

“Nevertheless, public anxieties are not assuaged unless further details as to what mechanisms will be deployed to ensure that Lynas will really meet and comply with this standard and thereby ensure the safety and health of residents in the vicinity.”

Becquerel per gramme (Bq/g) describes the rate at which radioactive material emits radiation in a given time period.

Wong said Chang had also failed to explain how MOSTI intends to guarantee that the radioactive wastes will be properly handled or even meet the standards in the future, asking if relevant reports will be submitted to Parliament every year or at 6-month intervals.

“The relevant government authorities need to show sincerity in solving this predicament and furnish the rakyat with reasonable details,” she stressed.

“At the same time, they must also explain or even admit that PH had dishonoured its pledges and apologise to all citizens.” – Oct 26, 2023


Main pic credit: South China Morning Post

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE