PUTRAJAYA, Aug 1 (Bernama) — The government is still awaiting Lynas Corp’s proposal in dealing with its rare-earth processing waste, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“We are giving this condition to Lynas that they should have a plan for dealing with the waste. We are waiting for them to tell us how they will do that.
“Whether they can find a place where they can deposit the waste or not,” the prime minister told a press conference after chairing a roundtable dialogue on workforce with international chambers of commerce here today.
He was commenting on a news report claiming that the government was likely to drop its requirement for Lynas Corp to remove its rare earth processing waste from Malaysia.
Late last year, the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry imposed two conditions for the renewal of the Lynas Advance Materials Plant (LAMP) licence, including sending radioactive waste materials from the country.
LAMP also needed to ensure that the Water Leached Purification Residue (WLP) residue containing radioactive material is removed from Malaysia.
For non-radioactive scheduled Neutralization Underflow Residue (NUF) waste disposal, LAMP must submit an action plan for disposal of accumulated waste before being considered for approval under Regulation 9 (6) and 9 (7), Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) 2005.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said developing countries such as ASEAN member countries should be participating in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meetings as a group rather than as individual countries for their voices to be significantly heard.
He said as far as the WTO is concerned, developing countries were worried that their voices were not strong enough.
“For example, when we go for conference of meetings of WTO, the rich countries come with whole team of experts, something like 200 of them, and then they have sub-committees.
“Our people cannot seat in the sub-committees because we send too few people. So that is (a) disadvantage for developing countries.
“So, for that reason, we need to group together. For example, ASEAN should be participating in the WTO as an ASEAN group and not individual countries,” he said.
Dr Mahathir was asked to comment on United States President Donald Trump’s memorandum recently that the WTO allowed too many countries to claim the status of a developing economy and special treatment that damaged the global trading system.
According to media reports, in the memo to US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, Trump wrote that the WTO was based on an “outdated dichotomy” between developing and developed economies that needed to be addressed quickly, and was in “desperate need of reform”.
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