The former prime minister said the project had given a lot to the country to enable it become a leader in new technology for energy production and renewable energy.
He said the Lynas factory had operated safely for six years, adhered to safety procedures and provided thousands of jobs in Kuantan, while ensuring investment in other industries.
“So far, there have been no reports of Wolverine or Professor X walking around the streets of Kuantan or nearby,” he said in a statement on Friday (Sep 21).
Najib said Lynas was important because China controlled 95% of the supply of rare earth minerals.
“This has caused concern among producers of electronics, smartphones and new energy all over the world. Lynas is an alternative supplier who have helped promote all kinds of industries to shift their manufacturing to Malaysia,” he claimed.
He added that rare earth elements were an important ingredient in the production of electric cars as envisioned by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Najib said the motor in electric cars needed magnets made from these rare earth minerals and that Malaysia was in a good position to lead in new and green technology, adding that the initiative started during his administration.
He said Malaysia was the third largest producer of solar panels in the world, after China and Taiwan.
The first factory in Malaysia operated in 2008, and since then other factories had been set up in Penang, Ipoh, Sarawak, Kedah, Melaka and Cyberjaya.
He said one of the requirements to produce solar panels and green energy technology was the rare earth neodymium.
“Lynas is the second biggest supplier of neodymium in the world. Lynas also produces other rare earth for the use of high technology products including electronics,” he said.
He said he hoped the government would continue to utilise the advantage offered in these sectors in the upcoming 2019 Budget.