Business

Lynas will sue those who defame it

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Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR — July 28, 2019: After months of being targeted by a concerted disinformation campaign, Malaysian-based rare earth producer, Lynas Corporation Limited has finally decided to take sterner action against its critics.

In an open letter to the Malaysian public, Lynas vice-president and managing director Datuk Mashal Ahmad said that the company will from now on take legal action against those who persist in defaming it.

“We have always welcomed informed debate, however the spreading of false allegations and misinformation is unacceptable. We cannot allow lies to stand unchallenged,” read Mashal’s open letter.

The accusations against Lynas have been intensifying since the past few weeks following an announcement in the parliament, on July 9, that the new conditions for the company’s license renewal will be disclosed by mid-August.

Lynas’ operations at its plant in Gebeng passed a review by a panel of experts and scientists appointed by the government last November but its fate was still uncertain following contradictory directives from the authorities over residue disposal issues.

It was only until late last month that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad explicitly gave Lynas the greenlight to continue its operations because otherwise Malaysia would lose a very big investment from Australia.

Below is Lynas’ open letter in its entirety:

Salam Sejahtera,

I am the Managing Director of Lynas Malaysia and I’m writing to you on behalf of our employees and contractors and their families.

In recent weeks you may have seen a campaign of false information by anti-Lynas activists. We have always welcomed informed debate, however, the spreading of false allegations and misinformation is unacceptable.

We cannot allow lies to stand unchallenged and we will not hesitate to take legal actions against those who persist in defaming our people and our company.

Lynas Malaysia is a law-abiding company. The Pakatan Harapan government’s Executive Committee Report, released in December 2018, was the latest of four national and international reviews to have found our operations to be low risk and compliant with laws and regulations. This view supported by Malaysia’s eminent scientists.

We are proud of our outstanding employment, health, safety and environmental record. So the question must be asked – why is Lynas Malaysia being targeted by a small group of activists when the company has repeatedly been shown to have met all of its healt, safety and environmental obligations?

Lynas Malaysia is accredited to international ISO standards and we have been recognised with many Malaysian and international awards for out health, safety and environment practices. Recent independent and government audits of our operations, undertaken as part of regulatory oversight, confirm we are not only compliant but implementing best practice management.

Our many supporters know the truth about Lynas and today we are proud to share the truth with you.

On behalf of the Lynas Malaysia team, Terima Kasih,

Datuk Mashal Ahmad

The claims against Lynas

False claim

The truth

Lynas has breached its license conditions and violated regulations.

The Pakatan Harapan government’s 2018 Executive Review Committee found that Lynas complies with relevant regulation.

The cost of Lynas’ waste-treatment has not been factored into its operations.

Lynas is a responsible company and we have deposited USD$42.2 million with the Malaysian government (in cash and cash-backed bonds) for the purpose of long-term residue management.

Lynas has polluted the groundwater.

In May 2019, the Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources said the latest tests gave negative readings of heavy metals.

The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change deputy secretary-general Dr Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu, confirmed this: “We are continuously monitoring and its not coming from Lynas.”

Lynas is therefore not responsible for any groundwater pollution.

Lynas is like Asian Rare Earths in Bukit Merah.

The Executive Review Committee found “significant differences between the raw materials and residues produced by Asian Rare Earth and Lynas.

Lynas’ residue storage is illegal.

All residue storage has been approved by the regulators, repeatedly, over the years.

Lynas is only in Malaysia because they are not allowed to proces rare earths in Australia.

Lynas received approval to do processing in Australia before establishing in Malaysia. Lynas chose Malaysia because it offered a better opportunity.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at [email protected]