Monday, September 3, 2012
More than 10,000 at Raub protest: Najib can't even manage Pahang, what more M'sia?
More than 10,000 people began a march from the Raub sports complex in Pahang to the nearby Bukit Koman goldmine they alleged has been using cyanide to the detriment of their health.
The huge size of the crowd, which gathered spontaneously and voluntarily, signals the strength of public unhappiness at the manner in which Prime Minister Najib Razak has been accused of allowing hazardous industries to mushroom, even in his home state.
"The issue here is the use of cyanide and this complaint has been going on since 2007. There are now 2 major hotspots in Pahang that Naib must stand accountable for - the Lynas rare earth refinery and the Bukt Koman goldmine. If he cannot manage his own home state, no wonder the federal government and the economy are going to the dogs," PKR MP for Kuantan Fuziah Salleh told Malaysia Chronicle.
Raub residents have been opposing the Raub Australia Gold Mining Sdn Bhd since 2007, even before the company began operations, but their lawsuits and appeals to Najib's BN government fell on deaf ears.
Fearing the miner's use of cyanide in its processes would affect their health, they have been organizing various protests culminating in Sunday's rally, where representatives from the goldmine were due to receive their memorandum of complaint.
However, after waiting for hours, no officer from the Raub Australia Gold Mining Sdn Bhd showed up, prompting the crowd to burst through a police cordon and attempt to march about a kilometre to the Buikt Koman mine. About 300 cops were on duty at the Raub sports complex.
Visibly upset and emotional, the crowd shouted 'Ban Cyanide' as they walked. But before they could reach the mine, the police with two junior Raub Australia reps in tow intercepted the organizers at the head of the procession.
The rally leaders agreed to stop the march and disperse the crowd after one copy of the memo was handed over to the reps and another to Raub district police chief Wan Mohd Samsudin Wan Osman for his onward transmission to the mine's president.
“Is it wrong for us to demand green policies? We don't think so. It is the corrupted and incompetent government policies that are wrong,” said Wong Kin Hoong, head of the Ban Cyanide committee which organized the protest.
Severe skin ailments as Pahang becomes a "dump site"
Many of Raub's residents believe they are suffering ailments as a result of exposure to cyanide-laced fumes from the goldmine. Several 'victims' shared their experiences with the crowd that had begun gathering around 1pm for the latest Himpunan Hijau or Green Rally.
"It has been two years of suffering," said 62-year-old Chin Thian Hee, showing the crowd her bag containing various medication. Another resident Woon Soon Fatt said he had spent RM10,000 on medical expenses for his family of six who have been suffering severe skin problems.
In Gebeng, the residents there with help of 'green' activists have also mounted several huge rallies to pressure Najib's government to reverse its approval for a RM700mil rare earth plant.
PAS environmental bureau chief Zulkifli Mohd Omar, who was also present in Raub, blamed both the Pahang state government led by Adnan Yaakob and Najib's federal government for turning their backs on the Gebeng and Bukit Koman residents.
"Pahang has become a dump site. We have radioactive waste in Gebeng, toxic waste in Raub, and now even Tasik Chini is threatened."
Yen Yen missing in action: Are the people really so dumb?
Meanwhile, Najib's BN coalition have fought back, accusing the Green Rallies of being staged for political motives. MCA MP for Raub Ng Yen Yen was nowhere in sight during the entire afternoon. However, BN workers have put up several banners to criticise the protest.
"Oppose Himpunan Hijau Raub. Do not trouble the people of Raub trying to rest for the weekend," screamed one banner.
At the Himpunan Hijau rally held in Gebeng in May, more than 20,000 people attended. The huge crowds that have turned spontaneously at all the Green Rallies so far is a strong sign of societal change that Najib and BN would do well to take serious note of.
"Malaysians are not only becoming conscious of the environment and their health, but if Najib continues to disregard their worries and concerns and to dismiss these as Opposition ploys, then he is a fool and deserves to be kicked out of the government. When you have crowds like these, it would be very silly and most presumptuous to think that there can so many Malaysians who are dumb enough to be used as political tools by the Pakatan," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.
About Me ｜简介
- Bukit Koman ｜武吉公满
- Kami adalah penduduk yang dilahirkan dan dibesarkan di Bukit Koman, Raub. Sememangnya, kami seharusnya dapat menikmati rahmat yang ditakdirkan, iaitu tinggal dengan aman. Namun, ketenteraman dan kesihatan penduduk tergugat apabila apabila lombong emas yang bersebelahan dengan rumah kediaman kami mengguna Sodium Cyanide dalam perlombongan. Ratusan penduduk mengadu tentang masalah kesihatan dalam tempoh 1 bulan selepas lombong emas mula beroperasi pada Febuari 2009. Kami tidak dapat lagi bertoleransi dengan ancaman ini. Untuk menjamin keselamatan ahli keluarga tersayang dan masa depan generasi kami yang akan datang, kami sanggup melakukan apa sahaja demi mempertahankan keamanan dan keselamatan kampung halaman kami. 我们是在劳勿武吉公满土生土长数十年的普通居民。本已到了知天命之年，奈何眼见挚爱的家园因为山埃的入侵，面临沦为“毒村”的致命威胁，我们决定站出来，抗战到底！为了我们爱惜的家人，为了我们的下一代，背水一战，决不妥协！ Email：bancyanide@Gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BanCyanideInGoldMining