Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Green Solidarity 109

On Sunday, the police intervened in a ‘Green Solidarity 109” (Himpunan Hijau 109) rally that was at least two thousand strong at Taman Gelora, Kuantan in support of communities threatened by the destruction of their environment (e.g. Lynas, Bukit Koman). The event organized by a coalition of environmental NGOs was initially given the green light by the authorities but permits from both the police and local council were withdrawn at the eleventh hour. Even the tents set up by rally organizers were dismantled in the middle of the night (i.e. Saturday) on the excuse that the structures were “illegal”.

Still, the prohibited rally was allowed to proceed until 08:30 AM after which the police moved in to stop the speakers. Presumably, the arrival of the FRU who were armed by the way, gave them the additional courage. One blog report did mention that supporters formed a human shield to stop their advance and the police appeared to back down. But they later forcibly pushed their way through after a phone call. The crowd became agitated, booing the police and shouting “Hidup rakyat!” before Kuantan OCPD Mohd Jasmani Yusof demanded that the rally disperse.

The crowd also hoisted cut-out figures of Najib Razak and his consort in a protest directed at the Prime Minister for allowing the police to intimidate the peaceful protestors on October 09, 2011.

“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. Why should these people be surprised at Najib’s empty rhetoric? As a Malaysian, I am ashamed of this cowardly cacafuego who is just dripping with pleionosis.

Bersih 2.0 luminaries, Ambiga Sreenevasan and Maria Chin Abdullah were there to lend support. So too were Australia’s Green Party MP Robin Chapple, Teratai state assemblyperson Jenice Lee, Tras state assemblyperson Ching Siew Onn and even a small band of pro-rally MCA supporters of Teruntum state assemblyperson Chang Hong Seong. Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh was of course present as always.

I say, make Lynas an election issue. And not only Lynas, but other environmental concerns that affect Malaysians. Don’t permit the government to ride roughshod over us! Remember that oft-quoted wisdom? “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.

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