That was almost a year back. It is encouraging that nothing has been set up yet.
The Plant is still not up but our genius of a government via the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has approved a Temporary Occupational Licence (TOL) for the start up on 30 January 2012. What deems shady is the public consultation process which only took four days to convince the AELB to issue the TOL.
Hey, if we can serve fast food justice in this part of the country, why should this be any different eh?
Anyway, on 26 January 2012, the world got greener. At least particularly in Kuantan. People from all over the country gathered in Kuantan to protest against the setting up of the Lynas plant. The dressing code was green. Green is a nice colour, soothing to the eyes.
As I was following tweets of various people who attended the gathering, it made me wish I was there to personally see it for my own eyes. Even as early as 8 am, people were already tweeting about it and by 12 pm it was all over. The atmosphere that, I read was carnival-like to say the least. People setting up picnics all over the padang, there were cyclists, jugglers...ok, I made the jugglers up, but they could have very well been there :)
I suppose to sum up, the gathering went rather smoothly without hiccups and the police, were co-operative and well behaved :). Nope, no water cannons and tear gas. After all, those are not natural substances and the theme of the gathering is to "go green", so it only made more sense :)
Brownie points for the PDRM yeay!
There were satellite gatherings all around the country as well, like in Penang and in KL. Though I understand that BN managed to send some thugs to well, spice things up a bit. Perhaps for every Yang there is a Yin. Though slogans of "Hidup Lynas" don't really make sense and I'm sure the blokes who chanted this, knows nary of what it actually meant.
Naturally, mainstream news under-reported those incidents, stating that it is a failure and it did not attract its intended crowd of a zillion people. Only 1000 people turned up. Oh, how we Malaysians suck when it comes to calculation, or in this case, simple estimation. Look below and decide for yourself if it was only 1K people.
Apparently statistic showed a healthy figure of 15,000. Now that's more believable.
It is good to see people power in action. Especially when it involves issues of the nation and the Lynas rare earth plant issue is one.
I had a discussion with a friend, on whether the people who protested, would they have studied the reports or that they had prejudices without cause? I don't know. But it is always easier to judge from a vicarious role, to say that people fear what they don't understand. And it is perhaps this fear, that people don't fully comprehend the effects that the rare earth plant brings or not, which kicks in the natural response of self preservation. "Why take the chance?" - and this would be the natural response of any right minded man (or woman) who lives in Gebeng.
After what has happened in Bukit Merah, if we are already smarter, then perhaps the best way is to make sure that history will not have its chances of repeating itself.
This is a clip from Malaysiakini, an interview with a Bukit Merah survivor - I am deeply saddened (I'm not trying to be dramatic here) and I'm sure you, watching this would feel it too.
Is economical growth more important than the lives of people, even if its comparatively, just a few? Is it? I hope and I pray that I will never put myself in a position where I regard the lives of other people so scantly, that they are no more than collateral damage for economic wealth.
No. Damn if I do.
Our PM says that it is safe. If it is so safe, why is the Australian government refusing to take responsibility for the radioactive waste that Lynas may produce whereas our government take it so lightly? Reports that may be, but actions speak louder than words. And if the Australian government's actions of debunking any responsibility, surely the proposed actions of our government fly in the face of reason!
Anyway, I believe, if the people continue to pressure the authorities, then we may see a breakthrough and Gebeng will be safe from its potential harm. But the people must forge on. Fight the good fight, and hopefully we see the fruits of it.
So I leave you with Namewee and his controversial but ultimately funny MTV, dedicated to Lynas.
Sidenote: We don't hate any Australians, and no Australians were dissed in this video, except of course Lynas :)
Lawan tetap Lawan.