Press Statement by Himpunan Hijau Organizing Committee on27 February 2012
The Himpunan Hijau Organizing Chairperson, Wong Tack
"Finally, we have received the first response from our Prime Minister. We feel encouraged but unfortunately, the answer was not what we are expecting.
Therefore, we hereby confirmed that Himpunan Hijau 3.0 is on!
We realized and strongly believed that in order to have a clean environment, we need a clean government. Thus, looking at the positive partnership of Himpunan Hijau and BERSIH 2.0, we will discuss with Bersih’s Steering Committee on the possibility of organising a joint green and yellow BERSIH 3.0. Himpunan Hijau is extremely shocked that until today, our leaders are still very much ill-informed of the actual scientific facts and danger of the Lynas project.
The people do not accept the position by taken by the government and Lynas.
Firstly, the proposition is wholly disputable because Lynas has not had any prior experience operating such a project. Nor does Lynas possess a pilot-scale plant which would generate an industry-proven data to corroborate these claims. More significantly, Lynas has not disclosed official testimonials which verify the authenticity of the data. Rare earth plant like this does not appear anywhere in this globe except in China. It is wholly unrealistic to accept their claims of zero risk to the people, which is either based on China’s experience or on an hypothetical basis.
Thus, if a grassroot movement like Himpunan Hijau can engage experts and scientists to conduct thorough research to obtain the true facts of this issue, why can’t the government?
Our Prime Minister’s suggestion to dump the massive amount of radioactive waste far away from habitated area is totally senseless and unacceptable! This remark from the top leadership in this country is of grave concern to the people because it reflects a shallow understanding of the ecological system and blatant disrespect of natural environment.
Every inch of our motherland is a precious natural asset to our nation. The landscape of the countryside is an ecologically sensitive system of forests, rivers and food production farmlands.
Our Prime Minister must realize that the thousands of acres of land used for permanent disposal of toxic/ radioactive wastes will deprive our children and our children’s children for generations to come from getting near it for billions of years. This permanent radioactive polluting site will subject our whole nation to the risks of widespread contaminations and pollutions.
So, how could our Prime Minister, at this highly crucial moment, still calls for a compromise and a search for a win-win situation? Can we allow our future generations to face this kind of unreasonable and unnecessary risks? Can we selfishly rob our children of their future?
We understand that our Prime Minister has inherited this issue from the previous administration. We understand that he may be facing pressure from certain groups with vested interest.
However, we hope that he could step forward at this critical time and display his true leadership by making an honest and brave decisive decision for the people. We hope this decision will come before Himpunan Hijau 3.0. The action or inaction of the Prime Minister will be remembered for generations to come. "
Press Statement of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) February 24, 2012
SMSL urges the authorities to exercise restraint to allow citizens their democratic rights and to give them the
space to peacefully express themselves in the forthcoming Sunday’s Himpunan Hijau 2.0 rally in Kuantan.
Chairperson of SMSL, Mr Tan Bun Teet explained, “The people have fought hard to stop Lynas and a number of other environmental problems. It is our duty as responsible and caring citizens to keep our country and our family safe.”
Earlier this month, a temporary operating licence was issued to Lynas Malaysia, a wholly owned operation of Australia’s Lynas Corporation,for its controversial rare earth refinery plant in Gebeng, an industrial estate about 20 km from Kuantan.
“We have tried every possible avenue and yet the Government has gone ahead with its bad decision which threatens our future. It is understandable that this will spark outrage and anger amongst people.” Said Haji Ismail Abu Bakar, Vice-Chairperson of SMSL.
He added, “Many families living in kampungs along the coast in Pahang will be directly affected once Lynas starts to dump its waste water into the South China Sea. These families depend on the seafood and tourism industry. They run small businesses to sustain their livelihoods. Who will want to buy contaminated seafood? Who will want to holiday next to a toxic plant?”
SMSL is disappointed that the Government has not taken on board grave concerns of the public which leave the people no choice but to take to the street to protest. The injustice is felt everywhere, not just in Kuantan but the whole of Malaysia. The good reputation of Malaysia is at stake over the handling of this issue.
The Lynas issue is a problem for ALL Malaysians. The pollution will spread over a wide area,even into our ASEAN neighbours through the South China Sea. Contaminated seafood and agricultural produce can create serious food safety issue not just for the people of Kuantan but to all the consumers of agriculture and seafood and seafood products. Air pollution from the Lynas plant can be carried far and wide by the north eastern monsoon wind.
Where will Lynas find a permanent location for its waste? Which state in Malaysia or which town in Pahang will be the next target?
Having a polluting industry will deter investment from clean technology and ethical companies which is the way of the future. Rare earth oxides are crucial raw materials but locating it in an ecologically sensitive area so close to so many families is a bad and regressive move.
“SMSL has engaged a strong team of experts to prepare for our legal action with the help of the Pahang Bar. We have strong grounds and we want to leave no stone unturned to present the strongest possible case. Letting Lynas operate is NOT an option.”
This Sunday, SMSL and our members and supporters will be gathering next to the site of the previous tennis court near Padang MPK4 at Jalan Kemunting to meet and greet our interstate supporters. We want to thank them in person for their tremendous effort and support to create a better future for Malaysia.
SMSL will also be present at the Teluk Cempedak precinct on Saturday night to provide the public with information on the Lynas project.
Determined Residents Going Bald to Protest Against the Lynas Rare Earth Refinery Project in Malaysia
Seventeen residents young and old, braved the morning shower to have their hair shaven off in public by a team of professional air stylists this morning. The ritual is part of a series of public actions organised by Himpunan Hijau 2.0 leading up to the major national rally on 26thFebruary against Australia’s Lynas rare earth refinery plant and to call for a greener future for Malaysia.
Winson Ooi who spearheaded the ritual remarked “As a father and a citizen who cares about the future, I initiated this ritual to show others that we need to sacrifice a part of us in order to fight the toxic Lynas rare earth project.”
“In our tradition, shaving all of our hair off is a highly symbolic and serious act to show one’s strong feeling and sacrifice to mark one’s determination for a worthy cause. I have to do this for my family!” Added Winson.
Winson was accompanied by his young son Li Yan in the ritual. When asked, Li Yan said shyly and quietly, “I want the rare earth plant to leave and to get out!”
Amongst the sixteen are parents, grandparents, vegetable farmer, office workers and businessmen of all walks of life. The atmosphere was sombre.
Bystanders and public supporters were upset by the Malaysian Government’s granting of the conditional temporary operating licence to Lynas Corporate, raising fear that the polluting rare earth processing may soon begin.
“So many of the village folks who live along the river and fish from the South China Sea will be affected if Lynas starts to operate. Young children who play in the river and seaside will be exposed to the contaminated water from the Lynas plant.” Explained Nasrun Amir, a resident with extensive links with the Malay fisher communities near the Lynas plant.
“I cannot stand by to watch this happens to village people who feel powerless and helpless to stop the project. As my hair was falling, I felt a deep sense of injustice, anger and disappointment with the authorities for their failure to do their job to protect the people and their livelihoods.” Lamented Nasrun.
Following today’s ritual, the various religious groups – Muslims, Christian and Buddhist - will be staging their respective group prayer sessions for peace, sustainability and harmony with nature.
Next Sunday on 26thFebruary from 9.30 to 11.00am, thousands of people from all over Kuantan will be joined by their interstates and country supporters at a big rally to be held in the middle of the town. Bus loads of supporters are expected from around the country including those coming from as far as the Eastern Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak to take part. All around the country, local actions will be held in various states including a solidarity action by the people who fought a hard battle to force the closure of Malaysia’s first rare earth processing plant near the town of Ipoh in the neighbouring state of Perak.
The professional hair stylists who supported the event
From left : Tuan Haji Ismail, Mr. Tan Bun Teet, Madam Abujavalli
Kuantan Residents to Appeal the Lynas Temporary Operating Licence
Press statement of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
February 14, 2012
A notice to appeal against the Lynas temporary operating licence was sent to Dato Seri Maximus Ongkili, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. The notice which was sent on 7thFebruary was signed by SMSL Chairperson Mr Tan Bun Teet, Vice Chairperson Tuan Haji Ismail Abu Bakar and a number of other concerned citizens of Kuantan.
Mr Tan explained to the media,
“As a responsible law abiding citizen, a caring parent and grandparent, I have to take action for the sake of my country and the future of my family”
“Was there ever a project which had attracted 1,123 public submissions inMalaysia’s history? The Government’s hasty decision has made a mockery of democracy and broken the trust of the people on the Government. We are seeking legal action as a last resort.”
The Temporary Operating License (TOL) was granted to Lynas Malaysia by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) less than 3 working days after the public review period for Lynas’ application ended. The decision has sparked strong public outcry.
Last year, the Government accepted all of the 11 recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) following its review of the Lynas project. Yet the AELB has shortchanged that commitment by prematurely issuing the licence even though Lynas has no idea how to safely manage its massive amount of waste or where to store it.
“Apart from the solid waste problem, many coastal communities will be affected, especially those involved in fishery and tourism.” Said Haji Ismail.
“These are my own people who will be left to bear the full impact of Lynas’ water and air pollution. How can I not take any action to stop the project?” concluded Haji Ismail.
The Lynas refinery plant will be dumping 500 tonnes of contaminated water into the Balok River and the South China Sea; and 1,000 cubic metres of gas into the air. Both streams of discharge will be contaminated with radioactive particles and possibly other hazardous substances harmful to the environment and human health.
Pn. Abujavalli A/P V Raman, a concern resident of Kuantan who joined SMSL in its appeal added,
“I have worked hard for my family and for my retirement in Kuantan. This is a peaceful and safe town. This is not a Chinese or Malay issue but an issue for all Malaysians who want a clean and safe future. I will not sit back to let others fight my battle”
“Our right to life, livelihood and enjoyment of our properties and the environment we live in and that of the public at large which were guaranteed by the Federal Constitution will be jeopardised should Lynas be allowed to operate with so many unresolved issues on hand.“ concluded Mr Tan.
SMSL urged the Minister to exercise his power entrusted to him to suspend the licence, pending the hearing of the appeal to uphold the system of democracy and good governance.
Today is St Valentine’s Day.
This day is not the sole prerogative of lovers but everyone who loves life and freedom. We love Malaysia. It is precisely because of our love for our beautiful country that we urge the Minister to demonstrate his love and duty of care for Malaysia as a Federal Minister to put on hold the Temporary Operation Licence to Lynas until the court has reached its decision on the appeal !
Some 2,000 residents from around Kuantan yesterday descended on Teluk Cempedak beach in a protest against the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and mining company Lynas.
The protest comes three days after the AELB granted a temporary operations licence (TOL) for the RM700 million Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng, Kuantan.
Starting as early as 5pm,the protestors, clad in their black and yellow anti-Lynas T-shirts, brought some 1,000 balloons in the same trademark colour as their T-shirts.
They were asked to scribble their wishes on pieces of paper before attaching them on the balloons.
Some of the messages read: "Stop Lynas!, Lynas radiation? No thanks!" while one was even attached a long banner reading: "Ridding of poison will make our nation happy and healthy," in Chinese calligraphy.
The protestors later tied the balloons to the ground for as a public display, before taking them down and handing them to visitors to the area in an effort to create awareness.
‘No police intervention' Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) chairperson Tan Bun Teet, when contacted last night, said AELB's decision to ignore local sentiments by issuing a TOL to Lynas provoked a strong turnout at the protest.
"Tonight, there is a very large crowd, the whole beach is crowded with people," he said.
He adds that there were not enough balloons due to the higher than expected turnout.
The protest, Tan said, proceeded without incident and without the presence of any police or Kuantan City Council enforcement officers.
In past, in a similar protest, city council enforcement officers had dismantled the organisers' tents at the eleventh hour while police had demanded them to disperse.
‘Withdraw, or see you in court'
Tan said his group will on Wednesday, send a letter to the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Johnity Ongkili, demanding the AELB, which falls under its purview, withdraw the licence.
"We will give him seven days to reply, if there is not reply within this period, we will then file for a judicial review with the court," he said.
He added that the government had ignored the large number of criticisms during the public review period of Lynas' documents.
"Even though the TOL has been approved, there are still so many people are standing up against it.
"I hope the government can study and understand what the people are so upset about," he said.
Malaysians protest against Australian rare earths plant
Press statement of the joint press conference Thursday, February 02, 2012
by Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
SMSL was outraged and appalled by the announcement of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) yesterday to issue a pre-operational licence to Australia’s Lynas Corporation for its controversial Gebeng rare earth refinery plant.
Mr Tan Bun Teet, Chairperson of SMSL commented:
“The approval given by the AELB totally ignored the concerns and comments provided by the public who took the trouble to wade through Lynas’ application. The public has submitted no less than a thousand comments and suggestions to AELB on the 26th. Merely 3 office working days later AELB has decided to give Lynas a temporary licence.”
“Has the AELB really understood the risks and hazards of this project? The public review was a total charade, a sham and a false pretense in public consultation. It is just another public relation exercise for the Lynas project.” Added Mr Tan.
In the AELB media statement, it is clear that NONE of the suggestions and objections raised by the public and independent experts in the field was adequately addressed!
“The AELB has failed abysmally as a regulator.” Mr Tan said.
SMSL will not hold back any more but will take all possible actions to Stop Lynas.”
The Lynas rare earth project known as Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) is ten times bigger than the now closed Asian Rare Earth project in Bukit Merah.
Rare earth processing has long been linked to devastating environmental pollution. The LAMP will be discharging huge amount of pollution in all streams – air, water and solid as disclosed in the two documents by Lynas. Each of the streams contains radioactive particles and a range of unknown hazardous substances yet to be declared by Lynas.
The plant is already posing problems as it is in a flood plain. Contaminated water will be certain to overflow into the surrounding area, into the Balok River and the sea which will affect the range of marine life.
Worst, it is located in an environmentally sensitive area next to an important mangrove area and the South China Sea. A significant proportion of Malaysian seafood is caught here. Tourism the other growing industry for Pahang is based on the pristine coastal ecosystem will be hit hard in the shadow of the world’s largest rare earth refinery.
In granting Lynas the licence, the AELB has totally ignored advice and recommendation made by Malaysia’s most qualified professionals - the Malaysian Medical Association and the Pahang Bar Association.
Dr Yu Siew Hong a local general practitioner and an active member of SMSL said,
“There is no safe dose of radiation. The health of our people will be put at risk. The AELB has not learned from its mistake at Bukit Merah. The people will be outraged and they will do whatever it takes to stop this toxic project.”
SMSL has been taking a series of civil and fair action. Of the various stop Lynas groups, SMSL by far has engaged most extensively with the relevant authorities. The AELB approval is the last straw for SMSL.
“The government has left us no choice but to take legal action and to embark on a nation-wide public campaign to vote the Government out in the next general election. We want a safe and clean Malaysia for all. We cannot afford to let a Government which does not know its duty of care to bring hazards to our country.” Concluded Mr Tan.
SMSL has organized a public event on Saturday 4th of February from 5pm till 10 pm. WE call upon all concerned residents of Kuantan and the greater Kuantan to come to Teluk Cempedak beach to make a wish. We pledge with others to change the government to save our homeland. Kuantan is a beautiful town. We do not want to live in the shadow of the pollution of the world’s biggest rare earth refinery.
Let’s make a thousand wishes and each of us shall strive to work towards making our wishes come true!
SMSL volunteers will be present to guide you. Prepare your wishes and write them on a long strip of paper or cloth prior to coming to TC and they will help you attach it to the balloon. Let’s all work towards a better government that will adhere to the principles of democracy i.e. a government by the people; of the people and for the people !