Malaysia

Himpunan Hijau 3.0 a matter of ‘life and death’, says anti-Lynas lobby

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
April 07, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Himpunan Hijau today defended its decision to hold its third rally the same day as electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, saying that a “massive” gathering was needed to convince the government to reject Lynas Corp’s refinery in Gebeng, Pahang.

The group said today that it’s planned April 28 rally was necessitated by the fact that the rare earths plant would be ready its operations soon, despite “nationwide” opposition by environmentalists and political parties.

Himpunan Hijau chairman Wong Tack (picture) said the group had no choice but to take their grouses to the streets of Kuala Lumpur on April 28 as their views have fallen on deaf ears.

“I think this is a matter of life and death. We have had enough of engagement, of talking. We are running out of time.

“It is not fair to subject people to this (Lynas plant), our decision is final, we want the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) to kick Lynas out of Malaysia,” he told reporters here.

Himpunan Hijau said earlier this week it will join Bersih 2.0’s rally for free and fair elections this April 28 in the hope that this would further pressure the government to stop Lynas Corporation’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, 2012.

“On April 28, 2012 there will be two separate events, Himpunan Hijau 3.0 and Bersih 3.0. Both movements champion two different critical issues in this nation but with one common goal, that is to leave a better legacy and future for our next generation,” added Wong.

He said that Himpunan Hijau rally participants will first gather at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) park at noon on April 28, and will then march to Datarn Merdeka to Join Bersih.

When asked how many supporters were Himpunan Hijau mobilising for the event, Wong predicted it will be “thousands” of people.

“We know that the rare earths is being prepared to be shipped to Malaysia. We are running short of time.

“Therefore it is timely for another rally,” said Wong.

Lynas Corp’s Malaysian subsidiary has said the plant would be ready to fire up operations in three weeks’ time.

The government had 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.