Pakatan distance itself from burn-Lynas threat

Pakatan Rakyat leaders say they do not condone violence and destruction of property. 

Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT

Pakatan Rakyat leaders have distanced themselves from Himpunan Hijau’s threat to torch Lynas Corps’ controversial rare-earth refinery.

Yesterday, the environmental group’s president Wong Tack publicly declared his intention to burn down the Australian miner’s plant if the newly-elected government fails to close it down after the upcoming general election.

He also pledged support to Pakatan and stated his resolve to topple Barisan Nasional as he believed the opposition coalition will fulfil its promise to close down the plant.

However, Pakatan leaders have disagreed with Wong’s resort to violence and have distanced themselves from the group.

“I disagree and disassociate the opposition from his statement. We do not condone violence and destruction of property,” PKR vice-president N Surendran told FMT.

He said he understood Wong’s frustration and unhappiness over the failure to halt the plants’ operations but warned that “this is not a correct way to respond”.

“I hope Wong will continue using peaceful, effective and principled movement against the plant and does not speak out about using violence,” Surendran said.

“We welcome the support of any group or individuals as long as their contribution is peaceful and through legal political campaigning,” he added.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said he understood Wong’s “passion about the environment” but disagreed with his threat to burn down the plant.

“The final analysis is that we have to go by the rule of law. We have to get BN to be open about the issue and listen to the comments and arguments and make the right decision,” he said, adding that noted the issue must be “completely free from all political platforms”.

“What we need is to be more professional in the evaluation of the project as a whole. Even if BN is elected again, it should be more responsible and engage with the public,” he said.

“This is not just an election issue,” he added.

Asked if the police should investigate Wong’s threat which is akin to Pakatan’s call for the authorities to charge Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali following the latter’s Bible-burning threat, Khalid said that it was not necessary.

“He [Wong] should be given a warning that if he tries to take the law into his own hands, he will have to face the consequences of his actions and there would be no quick, easy way out,” he said.

“Such fires cause damages, injuries and even death. Wong must understand the additional consequences. He should be advised and warned,” he said.

However, Surendran said he will leave it up to the authorities to take appropriate action against Wong.

“We don’t agree with his suggestion. He should not have said it,” he said.