MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Any Malaysian decision on Lynas respected - Australian minister

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the country will respect whatever decision Malaysia makes regarding Lynas Rare Earths Ltd’s operations at the Gebeng, Pahang rare earth plant.

“We respect their sovereignty and their (Malaysian government) rights to make decisions about this,” said Wong as reported by Bernama today.

Rare earth elements are important in the current economy, particularly in renewable energy and other high technology, she added.

“I know this has been an issue for some time. So all of us need to work out how we find a way to make sure we can both mine and process in ways that may retain the company’s competence because we’re all going to need this rare earth,” she said.

Wong also said Australia and Lynas have always placed the highest level of safeguards for the environment.

She was responding to a question about Lynas potentially losing its operating license if it does not comply with new conditions set by the Malaysian government.

Though the Lynas rare earth processing plant in Gebeng got its license renewal recently, it came with a set of conditions, including for the company to remove its cracking and leaching facility by July 1.

As part of those conditions, Putrajaya also decided to prohibit the production of radioactive waste in the country by the same deadline.

These are the same conditions given to Lynas when it renewed its operating licence valid from March 3, 2020 to March 2, 2023.

Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang previously said Lynas must continue complying with these same conditions for the renewal of their new three-year licence this year.

“Other activities that do not involve the production of radioactive waste are allowed to continue operating,” he said.

‘No special incentives’

Meanwhile, Lynas Malaysia said it has not received any special treatment or benefits since starting its operations in the country.

In a separate report by Bernama, the company said whatever benefits it received when investing in Malaysia are consistent with those offered to other investors.

“Malaysia awards Pioneer Tax Status to attract foreign investment in projects of national and strategic importance. These projects involve heavy capital investment, new and emerging technologies, and specialised machinery and equipment.

“Tax incentives of this nature are standard practice in countries around the world. The duration of the tax incentive depends on the size of the investment. Lynas was invited to Malaysia as a foreign direct investor and qualified for Pioneer Tax Status,” the statement read.

Lynas also said it has been paying tax like any other company on non-rare earth-related matters even though it was given a tax exemption under the Pioneer Tax Status on the manufacturing of rare earth.

Lynas said it has invested RM3 billion in plant and equipment as well as spent RM730 million annually in Malaysia, while also contributing to the creation of 4,600 direct and indirect local jobs.

“Lynas only seeks to be treated fairly and equitably, in line with other companies in Malaysia,” it said.

Chang was previously reported telling the Dewan Rakyat that Lynas has not paid a single sen in corporate taxes for 12 years as it had been given tax-exempt status by the Malaysian government. - Mkini

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