A peculiar facet of Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas

An anti-Lynas protest organised by the NGO, Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas.

An anti-Lynas protest organised by the NGO, Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas.

Those of the Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas group were close to many Pakatan Harapan (PH) politicians who jumped into the anti-Lynas bandwagon back in 2011.

However, these politicians whom the group had previously pinned their hopes to stop the operation of  Lynas Corporation had failed to do that despite coming to power after last year’s general election.

Unhappy with how things turned out, the group’s leader, Tan Bun Teet, vowed to burn PH’s election manifesto at its scheduled anti-Lynas protest this Sunday.

For those who intend to attend the rally or are simply curious about the group, here’s a snippet of the Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas group.

KUALA LUMPUR — August 16, 2019: Since its debut in 2011, the Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL) group has  established itself as the most vocal anti-Lynas movement.

Eight years have passed and SMSL is still Lynas’ fiercest opponent, even after the company was given the green-light by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to continue its operation in the country.

But there is more to SMSL than being just a critic of Lynas.

A check with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) revealed that the group, which has been identified in numerous reports as a non-governmental environmental organisation, was not actually registered.

A similar check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) produced a more intriguing result.

SMSL chairman Tan Bun Teet turned out to be a director of a company called R.P.N Workshop Sdn Bhd that was renamed as SMSL Sdn Bhd in 2011 but the company has already been dissolved.

In CCM’s certified true copy of the company’s profile sighted by The Mole, SMSL has been -prior to its dissolution- operated from a capital injection of RM100,000 by Tan and a shareholder named Lim Sow Teo.

While both Tan and Lim were identified as SMSL directors in a Lynas lawsuit, in 2012, against them and their company, CCM’s however confirmed that Lim was only a shareholder.

The other director besides Tan was actually an individual named Ismail Abu Bakar. CCM’s document also stated that the company’s profit and loss after tax in 2015, which was the latest available figure, was RM-95,758.00.

Despite SMSL’s status as a defunct company and an unregistered organisation, the company still accepts donations from the public who supports its “crusade” against Lynas.

However, according to sources, donations to SMSL are being collected by another non-governmental organisation called “Pertubuhan Solidariti Hijau Kuantan” since 2011.

One of the sources told The Mole that Solidariti Hijau is chaired by Tan and that it has collected over RM74,000 in donations with expenses supposedly amounting to only a few thousand ringgit.

“It seems that the company may have violated not just the Companies Act, for continuing their operations despite being already dissolved but also the Societies Act for masquerading as an NGO,” said a lawyer who commented on the matter on condition of anonymity.

Another lawyer, Zaki Azmi, who echoed similar view added that  by not registering itself with the CCM and/or the RoS, SMSL need not have its finances audited and conduct annual meetings.

“We can never be sure what their true intentions are and I’m not saying that they want to hide their financial tracks but doing so is wrong,” said Zaki.

Illegitimate groups opposing Lynas however, is not something new.

In early April, it was discovered that only 15 of the 61 NGOs that had endorsed the Lynas-suspension memorandum -that was also backed by some Pakatan Harapan parliamentarians- were not registered with the RoS.

Their number grew to 99 now but the majority of them were also not registered.

According to the Societies Act, forming or becoming a member of an unlawful societies is an offence. Article 48 of the act also criminalises anyone who assists any unlawful society.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi and Ahirul Ahirudin

Zaidi Azmi and Ahirul Ahirudin