Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lynas plant: 10,000 to protest this Sunday | Free Malaysia Today

Lynas plant: 10,000 to protest this Sunday

Tarani Palani | October 5, 2011-FMT

About 80 NGOs and civil society groups aim to make their voices heard on environmental issues.

KUALA LUMPUR: About 10,000 people are expected gather at Taman Gelora in Kuantan this Sunday in a continued bid to protest against the RM700 million Lynas rare earth plant.

Called ‘Perhimpunan Hijau 109′ (Green Assembly 109), the protest is to mark a new beginning with “a firm resolve to achieve sustainability” on environmental issues.

Organised by Green Solidarity, a movement formed by a group of about 10 NGOs specifically for the gathering, it’s aim is to ensure a safe and secure environment for future generations.

The movement’s national steering committee member, Bang Seet Ping, said that the gathering on Sunday was a people centric effort.

“I’m just an ordinary person. I want to protect my home, my community and my children. Many share my sentiments and aspiration for a better future for their children,” she said.

“About 80 NGOs and civil society groups have expressed their support for the gathering and we hope to see about 10,000 people this Sunday,” added the mother of two.

Among the NGOs is polls reform outfit Bersih, whose chairperson S Ambiga and other members are expected to be lend their support at the gathering.

“People living in Kuantan such as myself are living under unnecessary anxiety due to the proposed project. Many of our lawmakers are not environmentally literate.

“I hope they hear us loud and clear,” said Bang. “Environmental concerns must be a key issue that voters need to take into consideration in the next general election,” Bang added.

Empowering the voters

The Earth Charter, a universal declaration of fundamental principles for building a sustainable global society will be endorsed at Sunday’s event.

The Earth Charter is endorsed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

Green Solidarity said that invitations have been extended to the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Pahang Chief Minister, Adnan Yaakob, to join the gathering.

It has also sent out invitations to all parliamentarians, press and members of the public. Green Solidarity is also awaiting a reply from the authorities on a permit for gathering.

When asked why Bersih, essentially an organisation concerned with electoral reforms was supporting an environmental cause, Bersih steering committee member, Wong Chin Huat said that Bersih was concerned about empowering voters in general.

“To us, it makes sense to support such a cause as we are not only concerned with electoral reforms but we support any voter empowerment movement. This issue affects the electorate, the people have to decide and dictate their own destiny,” he said.

The Lynas plant is expected to be operational by end of this year. However, the community in Gebeng is up in arms against the project because of fears of radioactive contamination in the area surrounding the plant.

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