PETALING JAYA (Oct 18, 2010): "We know we’re fighting a losing battle but I want to do my best for the future generation because we don’t want them to curse us for not standing up for their rights."
These were the words of Bukit Koman Anti-Cyanide Committee (BKACC) secretary Mustapha Hussin when the committee was honoured at the Wild Asia Heroes recognition event at the Freedom Film Festival.
"We are not against the mine and its operations but we’re against the usage of sodium cyanide at the carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant which is so close to the village.
"We’re worried about the effects on our community and the environment especially in time to come," he said at the event held at Universiti Malaya.
He had travelled from Raub with BKACC president Wong Kin Hoong, assistant secretary Hue Fui How and Hue’s wife and was joined by other committee members.
The Bukit Koman community were one of the four Wild Asia Heroes nominated this year alongside Dr Joean Oon, also known as the Garbage Enzyme Lady; the now infamous Orang Asli champion Tijah Yok Chopil and the Lubok Bongor Conservation, Cultural, Social and Welfare Society in Kelantan.
Mustapha related the 200-year-old history of the Raub Australian Gold Mining site and the villagers’ battle against the use of cyanide.
"During a meeting in 2006, the villagers were told that the operations were 'safe'," he said, adding that the operators could not give them any assurance in writing.
"We’ve gone through the proper channels, sure they were very helpful but once they look at the evidence and know who we are, they stop there."
Wild Asia associate editor Jules Ong said the heroes were chosen because they worked for their cause with very little recognition and support.
"These heroes have been working very quietly with a lot of obstacles as well," Ong said in her introduction.
Wild Asia also extended its social media platform – Twitter (twitter.com/wildasia) and Facebook homepage (http://www.facebook.com/wildasiafan) – for the heroes to publicise their efforts and programmes.The short films can be viewed on www.wildasia.org/main.cfm/heroes