No decision yet on Lynas waste disposal, says Dr M

(FMT) – Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Cabinet has yet to discuss the disposal of waste by rare earths miner Lynas Malaysia following an open spat by ministers on the issue.

“We will answer that when we talk with the Cabinet.

“There may be differences of opinion, but that is quite normal,” he told reporters at a press conference after the signing ceremony between KA Petra and Hutchison Port Holdings Limited today on the development of the world’s largest ship-to-ship transfer hub in the Johor Bahru Port waters.

Mahathir added that whatever is determined by the Cabinet will be the official decision.

Yesterday, Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof said Putrajaya had yet to make a decision requiring Lynas to send its waste back to Australia.

Redzuan said while the government was clear that it would allow Lynas to continue operating, the issue of waste was a separate matter which needed to be addressed.

The energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry however said the government had formed a task force to facilitate the return of waste to Australia.

Its minister Yeo Bee Yin also said Lynas needs to ship out its waste as a pre-condition for the renewal of its licence.

Mahathir also said Malaysia has a “good chance” of being elected to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council this year despite being rejected in 2017.

He said Malaysians are not worried about their freedom, “except that if they want to walk naked on the street, we don’t allow, and if they do something funny, we don’t allow”.

“But we are not going to cut off your hands and we are not going to chop off your head,” he said.

The last time Malaysia was on the council was six years ago. Its membership ended in 2013.

In 2017, Malaysia was the only nation out of 16 that lost its bid to be on the council for the 2018-2020 term.