State volunteers gearing up to counter protesters

By Stephanie Sta Maria, Free Malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: A group of volunteers from Skuad Komunikasi Selangor have gathered at the state secretariat here to “defend” their Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim from protesters who plan to gather over the sand mining scandal in the state.

“We don’t know who these protesters are but we have received information that they will be holding a rally here today. So we decided to come and set up a defence wall to counter any unnecessary problems,” said state communications director Dr Badrul Amin Baharom.

He added that the state volunteers were undergoing training this morning in Ampang and were re-routed to Shah Alam after news about the protest came in.

About 60 of them stood outside the state secretariat, waiting for the protesters. They were also holding banners in support of Khalid.

“The Umno people are raising this sand mining issue now without any evidence. They are just angry that the state government has stopped their illegal activities.

“When we (Pakatan) took over the state, we discovered that there were about 26 illegal mines and we shut them down. These Umno people are unhappy as their income was affected,” he said.

Meanwhile PKR youth deputy chief Fariz Musa said those criticising the state government over the sand mining issue should direct queries to Mohd Khir Toyo, the former MB.

He said that in 2007 when Khir was the MB, the revenue from sand mining was RM2.9 million.

“In 2008 (when Pakatan took over), it was RM6.3 million. RM5.4 million (in 2009) and until June 2010, the state has made RM10.3 million.

“Why is it that when Pakatan took over we were able to get so much revenue?” he asked.

Khir meanwhile arrived at the state assembly sitting with a posse of supporters after ending his one-year suspension.

The protesters arrive

The protesters arrived at the state secretariat at about 11.20am. They were led by Ismail Kijo, the former Lembah Jaya elected rep and Ampang Umno division chief. Ismail submitted a memorandum to Khalid’s special officer Azman Abidin.

Ismail said that state agency in charge of sand mining, Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd, and the state government have failed in curbing illegal sand mining activities in the state.

“The illegal mining is out of control now. It has destroyed the environment and can lead to a natural disaster in Selangor,” he said.