Sunday, 4 March 2012

protest in malaysia

there have been some major protests in malaysia lately, regarding a rare earth minerals treatment plant built by australian company lynas. it appears that once the plant is in operation, there will be some risk of radiation, as well as the issue of where the waste from the plant is to be stored - it appears the australians don't want to store the waste resulting effectively from australian mining activities.

this plant could have been built in australia, but the company have chosen to build in malaysia:

The company could just install its plant in Australia – it has a rare earth treatment licence there, too. But they don’t because they’d be forced to build the plant in the desert and build hundreds of kilometres of pipes to transport gas and water. The Malaysian plant is much cheaper for them, and environmental regulation will be much less tight.
However in terms of safety, the impact would be far smaller if an accident happened in the middle of the Australian desert. In Kuantan, over 700,000 people live within a 30-kilometre radius of the plant. And the risk of waste contaminating drinking water is high.

not only that, but the company has been the recipient of corporate welfare in the form of a "12 year tax-free period". that's just appalling - especially when the profits will leave malaysia while the social and environmental costs stay in the country. this is so typical of how big business operates.

there are further protests planned in malaysia, though at this late stage it's difficult to see how the project can be stopped. just as a final note, it's great to see a female MP, fuziah saleh, taking the lead on this issue. i wish her and the local people every success.

No comments: