Lynas Corporation Ltd has sent a letter of demand to 45 NGOs including the Centre for Policy Initiatives for endorsing an open letter by activist group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) and which we published in this website on March 21.
Lynas through its solicitors Jeff Leong, Poon & Wong sent the letter to four SMSL committee members as well as the NGO endorsees, which besides CPI include: The Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), Suaram, All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Women Aid Organization (WAO), Tenaganita, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) as well as consumer, environmental and cultural non-governmental organisations.
The corporation’s lawyers have alleged that SMSL and the NGOs have made “false, destructive, and defamatory statements against Lynas” by imploring Prime Minister Najib Razak to stop any shipment of rare earth ore concentrate into Malaysia.
The Lynas lawyers are construing “the plain meaning” of the open letter to the PM, calling for a suspension of the operating licence issued to the Australian corporation, as carrying the connation that:
(a) Lynas knowingly and intentionally seeks to cause danger to the health and lives of Malaysians by building, running, and operating the LAMP (Lynas Advanced Materials Plant), and deliberately places Malaysians in harm’s way through irresponsible pollution of the ground and the air through the discharge of waste water and toxic gas produced by its refining plant,
(b) Lynas is negligent and attempts to deceive the Malaysian public, this being done hand in hand with the IAEA, by claiming that the LAMP meets international standards though it fails to do so since amongst other factors its plant does not provide for a zero waste water return policy,
(c) Lynas is negligent and attempts to deceive the Malaysian public by refusing to disclose structural defects and faults which have arisen with the LAMP, and which pose immediate danger of radioactive leakage,
(d) Lynas has deliberately and consciously deceived its investors as to the reasons for delay as to start of operations for LAMP,
(e) Lynas is not a company that cares about the environment, and through the building and running of the LAMP, this would propagate a hazardous operation which no ecologically minded company should or would wish to partner.
Lynas claims that the allegations set out above are “completely untrue and/or are factually inaccurate” and that the SMSL public appeal as a whole is highly defamatory.
Declaring that Lynas cannot allow to the “serious, offensive and damaging libel” to pass unchallenged, the lawyers have set forth their rebuttal on the key matters (see snapshots below of the 23 points as contained in their letter of demand).
The Lynas lawyers are demanding that the SMSL public statement be completely removed from websites, blogs, publications, forums and other media spaces that have earlier carried the open letter.
The lawyers also require that SMSL and the NGOs implicated publish the information (contained in the 23 points outlined by its lawyers to correct the “factual inaccuracies”) within seven days upon receipt of the Lynas demand.
Lynas and its lawyers want an apology to be issued in “prominent lettering” in terms to be approved by them, in addition to a guarantee that the activists and NGOs refrain from publishing any further statements similar to the appeal to the prime minister last month.
Aside from the apology in various websites, Lynas expects a national apology to be printed in a half page advertisement in a mainstream Malaysian newspaper, and the cost to be borne by SMSL and the NGOs themselves.
Lastly, Lynas is indicating a lawsuit for damages for the purported injury caused to its reputation and “loss of goodwill”.
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