Anti-Lynas wave to hit mosques nationwide
KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — Anti-Lynas groups will take their campaign to mosques nationwide, hoping to break racial barriers and add support for their ongoing efforts to stop Lynas Corporation’s rare earth project in Kuantan.
The Malaysian Insider understands that a protest has been planned for “selected” mosques nationwide this April 13, to be organised by a group of non-governmental organisations called Solidariti SeMalaysia Himpunan Hijau.
An estimated 22 groups, including Asalkan Bukan Umno (ABU) and Badan Bertindak Anti-Rare Earths (Badar), will be part of this campaign.
ABU representative Haris Ibrahim told The Malaysian Insider that Solidariti SeMalaysia Himpunan Hijau’s main objective is to correct the misconception that the Lynas issue only concerns the Chinese community and those living near the Gebeng Industrial Estate where the refinery is sited.
“The message is simple. Malaysians across the country do not want Lynas. We don’t want [the refinery’s operations] to commence.
“And this is an issue that concerns Muslims as well, not just the Chinese, hence the gathering at mosques. We will gather after Friday prayers and protest against Lynas,” he said.
The plan, according to Haris, is to organise and mobilise “gatherings” in at least one mosque in every state.
“We’re talking about all states in the country... so far, five or six mosques have been confirmed,” he added.
The main venue for the event, said the activist, will be at the Dataran Kemerdekaan in Shah Alam, where anti-Lynas protesters will first gather at the Shah Alam mosque before marching to the square.
Haris stressed that the event was planned before Bersih 3.0 and Himpunan Hijau’s joint April 28 rally announcement, but said it will now serve as timely “build-up” for the rally.
“We will show solidarity... in every mosque, we will fight against Lynas.”
Himpunan Hijau said earlier this week it will join Bersih’s rally for free and fair elections this April 28 in the hope that this would further pressure the government to stop Lynas Corp’s rare earth project in Kuantan.
This will be Himpunan Hijau’s third public protest to date, and it is expected to draw an even larger crowd than the first two, which were held in Kuantan on October 9, 2011, and February 26 this year.
Lynas Corp’s Malaysian subsidiary has said the plant will be ready to fire up operations in three weeks’ time.
The government recently formed a parliamentary select committee (PSC) to look into the Lynas issue, but critics have dismissed it as a public relations exercise by the Najib administration.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers, who are part of the anti-Lynas movement along with Kuantan residents, have decided to boycott the PSC, which has been given three months to resolve the ongoing dispute.