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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wong Tack: Not likely govt will allow Lynas waste to be stored here


KUANTAN: Bentong MP Wong Tack (pic) says he doubts the veracity of a news report that said the government was likely to drop its requirement for Lynas Corp to remove its rare earth processing waste from Malaysia.

Wong questioned the credibility of the unnamed official source quoted in the report, who said the Cabinet had discussed the viability of Lynas building a permanent disposal facility (PDF) in the country.

"This source also claimed that the Cabinet will instead direct Lynas to build a PDF in which Lynas will have to fork out US$50mil (RM206mil) to finance.

In a statement on Wednesday (July 31), he said he doubted the Pakatan Harapan government would be so foolish as to think that a meagre USD$50mil was sufficient to deal with Lynas' massive amount of toxic radioactive wastes which were for eternity.

Wong said as of May 18, the accumulated water leach purification (WLP) radioactive waste piled up in Lynas' backyard stood at 580,362 tonnes.

"This amount is an increase of 128,798 tonnes in comparison to the figure announced by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry on Dec 4, 2018.

"US$50mil is probably just enough to cover the cost of building the PDF structure, which may last only 300 years. The cost to rebuild the PDF after it has collapsed, the cost to lease a huge piece of our precious land for billions of years, the opportunity cost, the long-term management,

as well as maintenance cost and, most importantly, the health risk and harm to

the environment have yet to be factored in.

"We must never allow Lynas to pass on all these costs to our children and burden them forever," said Wong.

He added that Malaysians would never allow the country to be used as dumpsites for foreign toxic wastes, citing ministers Yeo Bee Yin and Zuraida Kamaruddin's efforts in combating contaminated plastic waste importation.

"The massive support of the people towards the highly commendable efforts of our two ministers clearly shows that Malaysians are environmentally responsible citizens who care for the well-being of our children.

"If importers of contaminated plastic wastes are labelled as traitors to the country, what would the rakyat think of political leaders who allow this country to be the dumpsite for the huge amount of Lynas' toxic radioactive waste?" asked Wong.

He urged the Cabinet to uphold Promise 39 in the Pakatan manifesto which stated the government's commitment to protect the people's welfare and environmental sustainability, as well as not to be dictated by large corporations.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Fuziah Salleh, when contacted, said Cabinet had not come to a decision on the matter.

A Lynas source also said they had not receive any indication that the company's residue would be allowed to remain in Malaysia.- Star

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