Organisors slam police, question PM’s sincerity

By Michael Kaung, FMT

KUANTAN: The protest against Lynas Corporation Ltd’s plans to open a rare earth processing plant here is rapidly gathering steam forcing another display of force by the authorities just months after the Bersih rally for clean and fair elections.

The organisors of the Himpunan Hijau 109 (Green Solidarity 109) gathering in Taman Gelora here hit out at Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for allowing the police to intimidate the thousands who attended the peaceful meet on Oct 9.

“We question the sincerity of our PM. Only less than a month ago, he said Malaysia should move towards a more open society and that peaceful assembly would be allowed but that was not reflected in Kuantan last week,” they complained.

“Police and the local town council took unnecessary actions to interrupt the event and intimidate the organizer and participants,”  said Wong Tack, chairman of the national steering committee formed to protest the construction of the plant.

The plant is currently under construction and protesters say the disposal of radioactive waste from its operations will be damaging.

On Sunday, protesters chanted “long live the people” whilst holding up umbrellas with an anti-nuclear sign and waved banners reading “Lynas get out” and were confronted by rows of police personnel.

‘Instructions from above’

According to Wong, permits from both the police and local council were withdrawn at the eleventh hour.

“Temporary tents and stage that were already set up by the organizers at the event venue were dismantled in the middle of the night.

“Uniformed armed personnels were at the site. Roadblocks were set up and parking areas were sealed.

“This is blatant abuse of power. The only reason given was ‘instructions from above’,” said Wong, who added he had tried to find out who had given the order and believed the crackdown was orchestrated.

He stressed that the ‘Himpunan Hijau 109′ event was a people’s movement and organised by the local community.

“It is a movement that transcends political boundaries,” said Wong who was upset with how the government-controlled media distorted and misreported the event.

“The national television (station) lied to the whole nation by saying that the event was a failure and was organized and backed by the opposition.

“On the contrary … the event marked a major victory of the people and they know this is not the climax of our struggle.

“It is only the first wave hitting the shore. We assure you that if nothing changes we will bound to see the greatest tsunami.

“We want everyone to know that we will walk the streets one way or another.

“Either to celebrate victory or to express the strongest anger. The people have already decided.

“Now it’s up to the authorities,” he said.