Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Green Walk

Now that the High Court in Kuantan had lifted the suspension on Lynas' temporary operating licence, the company has been doubly-quick to get themselves organized to begin operations.

In fact, this morning, Lynas confirmed that approximately 100 containers of rare earths concentrate have arrived in Kuantan port. It won’t be long before they begin processing rare earth minerals at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng on the outskirts of Kuantan. It was strange to read that the shipment arrived under cover of darkness and closeted with a heavy police presence. Stop Lynas Coalition chairperson Andansura Rabu who was at the scene claimed that the police had closed down the main road from the port to the plant, and deployed three police cars to escort the container trucks. Another two police vehicles were parked at the port. Hmmn, I wonder who is paying the salaries of the police Lynas or the rakyat?

The containers came at a time when a small group of ordinary Malaysians began their ‘protest’ trek from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur.

It started out as a one-man 300km ‘long walk’ by environment activist Wong Tack (first photo) but it has since then turned into a 'walkathon' of 80 people who decided to join him. They were united in a common cause: to stop any further environmental degradation in Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak, where stopping the Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng, and the Murum and Baram dams in Sarawak, constitutes a fundamental demand. The march, dubbed the “Green Walk”, is expected to last 14 days since it started on November 12, 2012 going across 15 towns before reaching Kuala Lumpur on November 25.

On Sunday when these ordinary folks reach the capital city, they plan to occupy Dataran Merdeka. It is here that they hope to meet the prime minister and members of Parliament the next day. Can we believe that they will turn up or will the marchers be met by phalanxes of police? We shall know soon enough.

But it is worth mentioning that the participation of Malaysians in public protests since Bersih 2.0 has increased in frequency and this is all because of ‘people power’. This Sunday, I expect thousands of Malaysians will be there, come what may. Will you be there too?

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