SMSL together with a bus-load of residents from Kuantan joined by their supporters from the capital city Kuala Lumpur (KL) have converged outside the KL High Court this morning.
They will stage a peaceful protest action against Australia’s Lynas Corporation which will be seeking an exparte injunction to gag SMSL and Malaysian NGOs from expressing their concerns and opposition to the rare earth refinery project.
“As a citizen’s and civil society group, we have every right under the Malaysian constitution to protect our family, our livelihoods, our environment and our country.” Said Mr Tan Bun Teet, a Kuantan resident and the spokesperson for SMSL.
“Lynas is taking advantage of Malaysia’s weak civil liberty law by using this defamation legal action to try to silent us. In Australia, Lynas will not be able to do this to its critics. What kind of international standard is Lynas practicing here?” asked Mr Tan.
SMSL is a people’s organisation consisting of a team of highly committed community volunteers backed up by strong public support from all over Malaysia and concerned citizens internationally.
SMSL has sought expert advice on the Lynas project. It has had investigative research carried out on Lynas Corporation and its rare earth project by highly qualified independent professionals both in Malaysia, Australia and elsewhere.
Professor Tan Ka Kheng, a chemical and environmental engineering expert and a waste management specialist explained “It is generally recognised that openness, trust and participation are all essential for communication and stakeholder involvement on radioactive and toxic waste. Yet Lynas has chosen not to do this.”
Professor Tan further added, “Malaysians are not new to rare earth refinery. I was involved in the Papan and Bukit Merah rare earth case. I am concerned that Lynas is trying to jump the gun to push ahead with its operations without having conducted a detailed EIA as require by law and to comply with the IAEA’s recommendations, and without having found a safe permanent waste facility for its millions of tonnes of radioactive and toxic waste.”
Lynas’ court action to try to silent civil society groups goes directly against its public stance that it will implement all of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommendations for its rare earth refinery project last June. The IAEA has especially emphasized that Lynas should improve on its community engagement.
Mr Tan commented, “Clearly, Lynas has failed to live up to its own words choosing instead to use Malaysia’s defamation law for its community engagement strategy.”
“Our views and position are backed up by accurate and reliable data and research findings. SMSL has secured the support from high caliber expert witnesses ready to testify in court if and when the need arises.” Concluded Mr Tan.