Anti Lynas protest on Mother’s Day in Kuantan
About 1,000 people observed Mother’s Day yesterday by protesting the RM700 million rare earth plant being constructed in the Gebeng industrial zone, close to Kuantan in Pahang.
The group, most of them mothers, gathered at Teluk Cempedak beach, but were not harassed by watching police as they made their point – that they do not want the plant built near their houses.
The event was organised by the ‘1M Malaysians Reject the 100-storey Mega Tower’ Facebook group. Since last month, it had urged at least 1,000 mothers to gather for this event.
‘Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia’ committee chairperson Vincent Jiam who was there, said when contacted that it was “quite a nice event”.
The atmosphere was good, with people having a picnic on the beach and chatting with one another. Some lighted candles, and there was singing as well, he said.
Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh led Kuantan PKR in distributing 1,000 flowers including carnations, to raise awareness that radiation will affect pregnancies and the health of children.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua was also present in a show of solidarity with the crowd.
Jiam said about 20 policemen, led by Kuantan OCPD Mohd Jasmani Yusof, had restricted people to lighting candles.
Jasmani tried to stop people from selling the ‘Save Malaysia’ t-shirts, “but when he left, people started selling again”.
“The policemen were very nice. We know that they cannot make an official statement, but they understand what we are doing,” said Jiam.
‘Get out by Aug 31’
A former kindergarten teacher, Jiam reiterated that the residents want Lynas out of Malaysia before Merdeka Day on Aug 31.
“Independence-day celebrations won’t have any meaning for us if our children (suffer) in the long term, due to exposure to radiation,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will hear the voice of the people.
He said Lynas can find other ways to make money.
The government has put construction of the plant on hold, pending evaluation of the project by an international panel of experts.