SEPANG (Aug 16): Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has given his assurance that the Government will look into the people's concerns over the Lynas Malaysia rare earths plant in Gebeng, Kuantan even though investigators had declared that the facility is not dangerous.
The Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), on Thursday, announced that the Government extended the operating licence for the rare earth processing plant owned by Australian miner Lynas Corp for six months.
"There have been investigations and they have declared there is no danger. But of course, the people still think we should get rid (of the plant) from their sight. Okay, we will look into that,” he told reporters after visiting AirAsia's headquarters RedQ here today.
Asked what will happen to Lynas after six months, Dr Mahathir said: “(It) depends on the data (that) we collect."
The operating licence of Lynas was earlier extended for three years from 2016 to Sept 2 this year. However, with the renewal of its licence, Lynas must comply with several conditions imposed on them.
Among the conditions were the transfer of its cracking and leaching process to another country and the construction of a permanent disposal facility.
Lynas must also terminate all research and development activities on water leach purification radioactive residue as condisoil for agriculture.
Asked about further action to be taken if the conditions are not fulfilled (particularly, moving the cracking and leaching process abroad), Dr Mahathir said: "We give them four years. We are not going to chase them out."
The Prime Minister said even though the permit was extended for six months, the Government hopes Lynas could fulfill the requirements quickly.
Commenting on the planned anti-Lynas rally in Kuantan this Sunday, which is set to culminate with the burning of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto for letting Lynas remain in the country, he said it will not resolve anything.
"They can burn the manifesto, but they have to deal with this thing in a commonsensical way. You can't just go around burning manifestos and expect everything to be resolved.
"I am quite sure if you burn all the manifestos, it doesn't resolve anything, it just make people angry," he said.
Dr Mahathir also admitted that when the PH coalition drew up the manifesto, many things were not known to them then, and now with new information found, they have to be dealt with.