Bentong MP Wong Tack has been pressuring Khairy Jamaluddin into withdrawing the operating permit of Lynas Corp following his remark where he promised to do so in the event that the rare-earths firm would not construct a permanent waste facility during the previous quarter.
Khairy, who is the science, technology and innovation minister has been prompted by the lawmaker to revoke Lynas’ business license due to failure of starting the construction of its Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) by March 2021, which he had promised to do.
He said in a statement that Lynas’ failure to act in accordance with this condition as they refuse the proposed construction of their PDF in Bukit Ketam simply means that the firm has no resolve in regards to the safe disposal of its almost billion kilograms of toxic radioactive wastes that are currently accumulated at their disposal site which is located in its backyard.
He also mentioned that if Khairy would keep refusing from taking action against Lynas, more toxic radioactive wastes would pile up at the disposal site.
“He must also realize that the people of Kuantan have gone through a decade of living in anxiety,” he added.
Lynas’ application to build a PDF has just been rejected by the Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday which is already three months after Lynas submitted their report on January.
Lynas, who is known to be the largest rare earths producer outside China, stated that they are already taking action in order to submit the necessary information being asked by the authorities in order to have a reassessment of their application to construct a PDF for their radioactive wastes.
They are already collaborating efforts with relevant Malaysian federal and state governments in order to procure the said requested information by the DoE.
The firm was previously granted a three-year license renewal which came from the Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board such that the firm may continue to operate its US$800 million (RM3.2 billion) plant located in the east-coast town of Kuantan.
This license renewal comes with additional conditions that Lynas need to meet which involves the construction of a cracking and leaching facility outside Malaysia before July 2023, after which the company would be prohibited to import raw materials with radioactive properties.
Moreover, Lynas should also start its development of a permanent disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste from rare-earths processing within the first year the license was approved.
Last year, Malaysia has given approval for its facility site to be located in Pahang. Activists have been protesting against Lynas over the years due to health concerns caused by the company’s wastes.