KUANTAN: A group that has been engaged in a years-long battle against Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd has lodged a police report against the rare earths processing company over allegations of water contamination.
The group that calls itself “Save Malaysia Stop Lynas” (SMSL) claimed that there was serious groundwater contamination from toxic heavy metals including nickel, lead, chromium and mercury, among others.
They based these allegations on a review of Department of Environment reports on water sampling tests carried out by SMSL since 2016. The documents were part of an executive review committee report on Lynas that was released in December last year.
SMSL chairman Tan Bun Teet said in a statement issued today that polluting the environment, especially the groundwater, is a crime.
“Since our regulators have not taken any action and have flouted their own regulations despite the data clearly showing otherwise, we have no choice but to act in the interest of our community and for our country,“ he said.
SMSL legal advisor Hon Kai Ping said that under the Water Services Industry Act any person found guilty of contamination that results in death can be sent to the gallows.
Otherwise, the person convicted of such a crime faces a RM500,000 fine or 10 years in jail or both.
Tan explained that lead is particularly harmful to babies and children. “The World Health Organisation has warned that there is no safe exposure level of lead,“ he said.
He said SMSL decided to lodge a police report because the new government has not taken any action since it came into power more than a year ago.
In another development, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin has postponed her visit to Australia to discuss the issue of the storage of Lynas’ radioactive waste in Malaysia.
A spokeswoman from her ministry said on Wednesday the trip, initially set for this week, has been postponed “pending further developments”.
Yeo was supposed to meet Bill Johnston, the Minister of Mines in Western Australia, to discuss the removal of the waste from Malaysia, according to a Reuters report.
Lynas’ operating licence is due for renewal in September and Malaysia wants the company to remove its stockpile of wastes as a condition for the renewal.