Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Green Ultimatum, Anti-Lynas KL Protest

Kuala Lumpur today was also another location for the simultaneous Green Gathering in protest against the Lynas Rare Earth Plant in Kuantan. The KL leg was held this morning from 9.30 a.m to noon at the Maju Junction mall. For the people who were unable to go to Kuantan due to amount of time required or other priorities, the location and alternative event serves to cater their show of solidarity of support and express their mass disapproval of having a rare-earth plant without proper measures to isolate wastes.

Around 1000 people turned up today at the venue, occupying both sides of Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. Many of those who were present are the young generation. There have been constant shouts and cheers on anti-Lynas and whenever passing motorists honked to show support to their cause, they cheered as well. Two MPs were present, Charles Santiago from Klang and Dr. Dzukefly of Kuala Selangor. The protest duly ends at 12.30 pm with people dispersing as planned and there have been promises from the crowd to show up in a similar roadshow event in the future.

Here are some of the selected pieces of photos that I've taken on the ground. There were some incidental reactions from passing motorists that it is also included as well.

According to Malaysiakini, there were around 15 thousand in attendance in Kuantan. However, the police downplayed the size and said only 3 thousand. (from Bernama but information used could be the early hours info). One thing caught my interest was an ultimatum delivered by the organizing chairman of Stop Lynas Wong Tack. This is what he said in The Malaysian Insider:

“The whole nation has risen up. We cannot accept this kind of destruction to our country. It is very clear. How much louder do you want us to scream? When are you going to care about the people’s concerns?” he told reporters after the rally at Padang MPK 4 here. 

“We want a decision to be made in 24 hours, or else our committee will start immediately on a bigger demonstration... to make sure either we bring down Lynas or bring down this government. You change your decision or we change you.”

The movement has given the Najib administration 24 hours to respond. So far at around 5 pm, it looks like the Najib administration is going to ignore the demands, claiming it is still safe. I am quite certain that they are unwilling to cancel it because they are in desperation of money (a reason) and you must understand that there's big corporation control over the government decision making as well. Some in the party who has extreme views may see it as a challenge to the party's omnipotence. Definitely we are likely to see another round of protests soon.

It is also noted that many who turned up (as mentioned earlier) are the young generation. Rather than having the "Stop Lynas Save Malaysia" become merely words and slogan, the action must be translated into votes in General Elections. This means that there is a need to take the initiative to become a voter and turn the slogan to "Anything But UMNO". United Malays National Organisation is still having a chokehold on the naive, ignorant and low-knowledge people. The uncles and aunties in rural and otherwise will ultimately be the ones that will be selling the future generations away if they persist on ignorance or refusal to acknowledge the dangers that are to come.

Additional Material:

1. More photos taken on the ground
2. MobTV's news video coverage
3. Free Malaysia Today's report

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