“Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas”
Such is the name and motto of the Malaysian group who, this Saturday, will be protesting the construction of a rare earth refinery plant being build by Australian based Lynas Corp., Ltd. While the nation of a little over 28 million residents seems far-flung for such a movement to take root, the truth of the matter is that Malaysians have been active in the movement, and have been so for decades. Yet, as Khoo Kay Peng, a management consultant and policy analyst states, ““The kind of protests, the kind of activism that we see for the Lynas plant is something unprecedented.” Rare earth metals are often found with radioactive contaminants, which during the refining process, must be separated and disposed of properly. While Lynas states that the toxins are well within the legal limit after a parliamentary report, activists are protesting otherwise.
With this in mind, a specific impact is likely to occur for foreign businesses who wish to enter Malaysia. Firms will begin to think twice about the environmental impact their products have if their items are to be sold in Malaysia. Nayseers will point out that business will decide to move into other competing nations whose restrictions are less prohibitive, once they find out of the Malaysian dissonance toward heavy polluting firms. Sooner or later however, other nations will follow suit, creating a hostile environment for businesses to enter into, unless they change and adapt to policies residents want: in this case, a need for environmental responsibility amongst foreign firms. And while the nearly $800 million project has been approved by government, the implications of such protests are undeniable in the movement to both live green, and be green.