Friday, June 10, 2011

Malaysiakini - Anti-Lynas group takes battle to Australia

Lee Long Hui
Jun 10, 11

Ten members of the anti-Lynas rare earth plant group 'Save Malaysia' will be taking their fight against the building of the plant near Kuantan to Australia.

They intent to spend the first week of July there to lobby against the Australian company's rare earth processing plant, now being built in Gebeng, Pahang.

NONESave Malaysia committee chairperson Tan Bun Teet (right) said the group has secured sponsorship for 10 return tickets from an anonymous supporter, and that they would fly to Canberra on July 3.

The committee plans to present memoranda protesting the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng to three target groups, including Australian MPs.

Tan said they also plan to present the same memorandum to Lynas' top officers at their headquarters in Sydney, and to the Australian Securities Exchange to "alert investors" on Lynas' activities in Malaysia.

He said the main objective of the trip is to alert Australians to the plight of Gebeng residents and urge them to pressure the Australian government to stop Lynas from setting up shop in Malaysia.

"Australians need to know that Lynas is practising double standards in its business. It wants to protect the environment in its own country, but ruin the environment of another country," Tan said when contacted.

Protesters unrelenting

The Australia trip by the Save Malaysia panel is the latest move by anti-Lynas plant groups, which have launched sustained protests against the Australian mining giant's plan to set up the world's first rare earth processing plant outside of China.

NONELynas has repeatedly given its assurance that the people will face "zero radiation" from the RM700 million Lamp, which is scheduled for completion by September this year.

However, the project's detractors are having none of this and have organised a string of small- to large-scale protests over the past few months, including rallies in front of the Malaysian Parliament and the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur to a 1,000-strong gathering at Teluk Cempedak in Kuantan, Pahang.

Following intense public opposition to the project, the government decided to moot the formation of an international expert panel, appointed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to re-evaluate Lamp's safety aspects.

The government said it would suspend issuance of the plant's operating licence if the IAEA panel's report shows the plant to be unsafe.

However, no stop-work order has been issued pending the completion of the IAEA panel's work and the plant is expected to be completed within schedule.

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