DAP calls in leaders for talks on Lynas

The Lynas rare-earths plant has faced strong protests from before the 2018 general election. In April two groups, for and against Lynas, demonstrated outside Parliament House.

PETALING JAYA: A week after dealing with the controversy over khat lessons in vernacular schools, DAP leaders are being summoned for another meeting on Tuesday, this time with the equally hot issue of the Lynas Corp rare-earths plant in Kuantan.

Several high-ranking party members told FMT that they were sent invitations last week for the special meeting at DAP headquarters in Kuala Lumpur at 8pm on Tuesday.

“All central executive committee members have been notified,” said an aide to a DAP minister, who asked to remain anonymous. No agenda was specified, but DAP leaders and members close to the party’s top leadership have confirmed that Lynas would be the focus of discussions.

The rare-earths processing plant, operated by Australian-based Lynas Corporation Ltd, has been embroiled in controversy for several years, with environmentalists and Pakatan Harapan politicians protesting against the plant on health grounds and calling for its closure.

The plant’s operating licence is due for renewal next month. The federal government has made broad hints of the licence being renewed after Lynas makes arrangements for waste disposal.

Tuesday’s DAP meeting would be attended by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, national organising secretary Anthony Loke and national assistant publicity secretary Yeo Bee Yin, who is minister for energy, science, technology, environment and climate change in the federal Cabinet.

The meeting will be held behind closed-doors and no press statement would be issued or press conference held after the meeting, the DAP official said.

One DAP MP with knowledge of the meeting said it would also serve as a “follow up” to the khat issue, which dominated party attention last week after a group of grassroot leaders protested against the federal government’s decision to introduce lessons on khat (Jawi calligraphy) for Year Four pupils of vernacular schools next year.

A government decision on the Lynas licence is expected by Thursday, ahead of the deadline on Sept 2. The Lynas issue is also expected to be aired at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

One DAP MP from East Malaysia talked down rumours of the meeting being heated. He said all that he wanted was to listen to what conditions would be imposed on Lynas if its license was to be renewed.

He said he also wanted to know the Cabinet’s reasoning behind the decision. “I heard the extension is for another six months,” he added. “I want to know what will happen if Lynas does not comply with the set conditions. Will it still be renewed?”