Tengku Zafrul downplays potential fallout over Malaysia’s Lynas decision

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said he supported the government’s conditional renewal of Lynas Malaysia’s operating licence notwithstanding claims that the move could dampen investor confidence in the country.

The international, trade and industry minister said those who disagreed with the decision were welcome to offer their opinions, adding that all views would be respected.

“I stand by whatever government decision (was made); as part of the government, we will continue to support all industries that are beneficial for the country,” he told reporters at the ministry’s headquarters here today.

Three days ago, Lynas Malaysia filed an appeal to Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to review the conditions imposed on the subsidiary of the Australian miner to continue operating here.

Its parent company, Lynas Rare Earths, informed the Australian Securities Exchange in a filing that its wholly-owned Malaysian unit is seeking the minister’s aid to reverse the conditions imposed last month by the local atomic energy regulator as part of its three-year licence renewal.

Last week, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang Chang confirmed that the Atomic Energy License Board (AELB) — which is under his ministry — has conditionally renewed to Lynas Malaysia for the next three years starting March 3 this year to 2026.

He said the conditions were meant to prevent another radioactive waste disaster in the country, and that Lynas could lose its operating licence after July 1 if these were not met.

Residents in Perak in the 1980s had suffered the effects of a radioactive pollution — that included cancer and birth defects — said to be from the mining of rare earths in Bukit Merah that was operated by Japanese giant Mitsubishi Chemicals until it closed in 1994.