A colourful group of environmental activists gathered on the steps of Australian mining giant Lynas Corporation’s head office on September 20 to protest the company’s move to build a rare earth mineral refinery in Malaysia.
Thousands of Malaysians have joined protests against the Malaysian government and Lynas for their lack of transparency in not disclosing plans to deal with radioactive toxic waste produced by the Lynas Advanced Minerals Plant, near the town of Kuantan.
Supporters of the Australian Stop Lynas! campaign added their voice to the people of Malaysia in their fight against Lynas. At the rally they chanted: “Lynas! Lynas! You must go! The people of Malaysia have said no! Lynas! Lynas! Here’s our case, we don’t want your toxic waste!”
NSW Greens MP Jamie Parker spoke to the crowd, assuring his commitment to protecting the environment and pledging his support to the grassroots movement of the people of Kuantan.
“This facility would not have been able to have gone up in Western Australia where the material is being mined," Parker said. "We know that they moved to Malaysia because with lower environmental standards [and] with lower labour standards; they think that they can get away with it.”
“Countries like Australia should not be dumping their environmental risks in other countries. Countries like Malaysia need to have more transparency and more openness; to allow for their communities to be able to stand up to protect their environments.”
Other speakers included the Socialist Alliance’s Peter Boyle, Tully McIntyre from Friends of the Earth and Malaysian democracy activists in Australia, Lim Teik Hock, William de Cruz and Helen de Cruz.