Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

M'kini: Anti-Lynas Father's Day protest draws 2,000

Expand Messages
  • YW Loke
    Please support Malaysiakini by subscribing for as low as RM20 per month to RM150 per year. Details at: http://www.malaysiakini.com/pages/subscription/index.php
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 19, 2011
      Please support Malaysiakini by subscribing for as low
      as RM20 per month to RM150 per year. Details at:

      Easy way to help - CLICK on the ads [esp.Google/Yahoo ads]


      Anti-Lynas Father's Day protest draws 2,000
      19 Jun, 11 4:24pm

      The anti-Lynas Fathers Day event today, organised by Save Malaysia NGOs,
      drew a multiracial crowd of 2,000, many of whom were parents with their
      kids, according to Save Msia NGO chairperson Tan Boon Teet.

      The event ended peacefully at 11.30am without any interference from the

      The organisers requested families and friends to gather at 8am at Taman
      Gelora , Kuantan, preferably wearing their Save Malaysia t-shirts and go for
      a jog/walk.

      They were also asked to bring flags to tell the world that Kuantan people
      and other fellow Malaysians will not allow Malaysia to be recolonised and
      treated as dump site for foreign toxic waste.

      The organisers emphasised it was not an anti-Australia protest but they were
      against the opening of the Lynas Rare Earth Plant in Gebeng near Kuantan.

      The waste by-products of the plant, which contain the radioactive element
      thorium has stirred public protest.

      The plant, which residents fear will produce highly toxic radioactive waste,
      is slated to begin its trial run in September.



      Nuclear Physicist: M'sia Will Gain Nothing But Radioactive Waste from

      by Haider Yutim Last updated on Friday, 17 June 2011 09:40

      Ahmad Bungsu Hamid Tuah is a nuclear physicist and committee member of
      Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) Science Bureau as well as Public Complaints
      Bureau. Malaysian Digest caught up with Ahmad Bungsu recently to get a
      clearer picture of the controversial Lynas rare earth plant project in
      Gebeng, Kuantan. This is first part of the interview.

      Malaysian Digest: What is rare earth?

      Ahmad Bungsu: Rare earth is the element very much associated with
      radioactive materials. It's in the same group family of Uranium and it is an
      unstable material. So, in atomic terms, it means it always disintegrates and
      in the process of disintegration most of the rare earth will generate
      radioactive radiation.


      Why is it called rare earth? Because it is not commonly found all over
      the world like lime stones or granite. Its abundance is also where you can
      find Uranium. When you find a lot of Uranium you are bound to find rare
      earth because it is very much associated. For example, Thorium is also rare
      earth element but Thorium can also be used for nuclear fuel which China and
      America are embarking into now as this new fuel is more available than
      Uranium but is cheaper.

      So most of the nuclear powers in the world are looking very seriously
      into Thorium as the future source of nuclear energy as fuel. So that is the
      rare earth you cannot find them easily in the world. You cannot find them in
      Malaysia or Sri Lanka or in Brunei or whatever, but in certain countries
      only like Australia, America, and China.

      mD: So those are the countries that we get rare earth from?

      AB: At the moment, yes. It's being commercialized on a big scale in

      * What are the other elements besides Thorium?

      Thorium, Latium, Cerium, Californium, Polonium. There are actually a
      lot and according to Nick (Nicholas) Curtis, the CEO of Lynas Corporation in
      Australia. He claimed that there are 19 types of rare earth elements and
      their applications are in various fields - high technology, supercomputer,
      high performance jet, turbines and those sorts of things. including
      satellite application. So the price of Thorium at the moment is comparable
      to copper and it's very expensive. Now the price is RM400 to RM500 per
      kilogram. That's why Australia is very crazy to extract this rare earth and
      sell this product.

      So you just imagine Australia on first phase of production per year is
      11,000 tons of refined rare earth. Can you imagine 11,000 where the average
      RM300 per kilogram? So how much money they can get out of that? 11,000 tons
      per year multiply by RM300 per kilogram. this is the reason why they
      seriously want to go into this and fighting over is just like the Americans
      go to the far west and they wiped out the Red Indians and even poisoned the
      rivers with cyanide to kill the Red Indians to get the gold. Maybe this is
      the second phase - they are not hunting for gold anymore. They are hunting
      for rare earth but they cannot process the rare earth in their country so
      they come to Malaysia because, in Malaysia, they get free tax for twenty


      However, I don't see any established regulations to cater the
      guidelines. I don't see the guidelines yet written by DOE (Department of
      Environment Malaysia) or AELB (Atomic Energy Licensing Board). If they have,
      please publish it in the newspaper as a guideline for the whole people in
      this country. But have they came out (with the guideline) before this
      industry started in Malaysia? I heard they are trying to consult the
      international atomic agency yet we have to see.

      I do wonder about this international atomic agency; they can allow the
      rare earth to be processed here, why not in California? International Atomic
      Agency is basically American-based. Why should Australia come to Malaysia.
      why don't they go to America? Because Australia claims Malaysia has better
      infrastructure, but America has better infrastructure than Malaysia. why
      you (Lynas) go to America where IAEA is there to protect you?

      * What does this rare earth process into? What does it become?

      These rare earths are actually various elements found in large
      quantities in Australia. And recently it came out in Australian media that
      they have found much bigger reserve of rare earth. They've even discovered
      Uranium in granite rock in high concentration in a mining area. The
      concentration is about 39 percent which is considered quite high. So I
      wonder whether the next mining would be sent to Malaysia as well as a
      dumping ground for their waste.


      They produced so many of these rare earth like Latium, Cerium in
      Malaysia, and what is left as waste product are their oxide and also all
      sorts of traces of these elements will be left including Thorium plus all
      the ammonia, sulfuric acid, nitric acid. So this waste product will not have
      any market value is a waste that have a big liability to the future of this
      country. This is because, for example, as a nuclear engineer I've learned
      that these wastes should be kept in the desert area where there won't be any
      rainfall. So what they do in America is they put these toxic and radioactive
      wastes in a special container which can last for ages. This container is
      also resistant to radiation so that if this container has been bombarded
      with gamma ray or plutonium, the container must withstand and last for long.

      They also put it (the waste container) in a cavern under the ground in
      a very dry area where you don't get any rain. In the case of Malaysia, it is
      very worrying as they will be dumping all this oxide in Gebeng itself.
      Imagine now we have more rainfall than many years back because of the
      climate change. This rainwater will wash all the acid and oxide into the
      ground water and the plants will use the water where those radioactive will
      be absorbed into the plants and it will go into the food cycle.

      Concerning the product, in Gebeng they will refine the oxide into the
      finished product from Thorium Oxide and process it into Thorium. Thorium,
      for example, will be used to fuel a nuclear reactor in many years to come
      and of course it's very expensive. Meanwhile, they will sell the other
      materials to other countries. From my research I found out they already have
      a contract with Japan to buy them (the materials. So what's going to happen
      here is they'll bring all the rare earth to Malaysia and then they'll
      process it here and throw all the dirt here.

      So in this case I don't see how Malaysia would benefit from this
      because what is left behind is the radioactive waste which would have a very
      long-term effect of pollution to this country. But these people make money
      and do not pay the taxes to this country for 12 years. And they claim that
      they have provided job opportunities to Malaysians.? Well, maybe 300 to 400

      I want to ask them: You are so caught up with this 400 job
      opportunities, what about more than 1 million foreign workers here who are
      'taking' all the money from this country? Is it not important? Do you feel
      that other industries cannot cater for these 400 workers? I'm sure if the
      project is cancelled they can make a petrol chemical plant because it's near
      Kerteh and cater more workers. You are talking about workers. I don't see
      what the benefits are for Malaysians as we only get the radioactive waste.
      This radioactive waste has a devastating effect on the local community. Once
      you start this business here, foreign tourists will hesitate to come to
      Cherating because it will frighten them off. So what happens to those big
      hotels mainly the owners? Are they happy to welcome rare earth industry in
      Gebeng if they can see in the future that the tourists are not coming to
      their hotels?

      Also, the seafood there, in the long run, will be contaminated.
      Imagine in the first year they are going to produce 11,000 tons of waste.
      What about the following years or ten years? In ten or twenty years maybe a
      million tons of oxide of this waste will be left in Gebeng. And who is going
      to pay for its cleaning though there is no point in cleaning because where
      we are going to send it as nobody is going to accept this rare earth? So I
      don't understand why the government of this country so persistently wants to
      start this business. What does the government get? They get nothing. The
      only one who will enjoy the fruits of this rare earth plant is Lynas.

      However, we are not sure whether they are really going to produce rare
      earth or not. Are we sure? I'm not sure. Who is going to monitor the plant
      every day? I'm not saying they would produce other materials but probably
      they might produce other materials. they might produce Uranium.

      - mD

      The Berita Malaysia / bmalaysia mailing lists
      Read postings, subscribe/unsubscribe or change settings at:
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.