Lynas interview postponed, not cancelled, says Bernama TV

The government has given Lynas Malaysia a six-month renewal of its operating licence subject to several conditions.

PETALING JAYA: A television programme featuring Lynas Malaysia representatives that was supposed to be aired on the government-owned Bernama News Channel on Wednesday was postponed and not cancelled, a spokesman from the agency said.

The spokesman denied that the segment, titled “Isu Lynas: Salah Faham?” featuring Lynas managing director Mashal Ahmad and general manager Prof Ismail Bahari, was cancelled.

“We were instructed to put the interview on hold because the government had just decided on the matter and was due to announce its decision the following day, so there was no point in going on air before that.

“The interview will take place and will be aired next week. It’s actually better this way because now there is clarity on the Lynas issue,” the spokesman told FMT.

A high-ranking government official had earlier voiced concern over the 11th hour scrapping of the segment, warning it reflected poorly on the Pakatan Harapan-led administration.

“The people may not see the government as being transparent and open to constructive feedback. They should have let the segment continue,” the official said.

He also hit out at some PH leaders for undermining the government’s handling of Lynas by pushing a narrative which went against the government’s findings on the safety of the company’s rare earths processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

“Despite the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and the new administration’s independent review committee finding Lynas’ operations safe, some MPs are still trying to muddy the waters.

“They are trying to portray as if the government does not care about their health and the environment. They should just remain in the opposition,” he said.

On Thursday, Putrajaya said it would renew Lynas operating licence, ending speculation on the fate of the rare earths processing plant which had been a subject of contention since the May 9 polls last year.

The government is giving a six-month renewal of the licence to Lynas based on several conditions, including constructing a cracking and leaching facility outside Malaysia within four years of the renewal, after which it would not be allowed to produce radioactive residue exceeding one becquerel per gramme at its plant in Gebeng.

It said the company must also identify a permanent disposal facility (PDF), with written approval from the relevant state government.