Monday, 12 March 2012

Sg Lembing Folks Protest Lynas Dump Site plan

Leven Woon • Mar 11, 12 6:17PM     from Malaysiakini

Residents from Sg Lembing near Kuantan, Pahang, staged a protest today to express outrage against the proposal to dump radioactive waste in a disused mine shaft in their town.

Braving the morning drizzle, some 300 of them accompanied by members of the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) group gathered at their town’s morning market at 8am, bearing placards and shouting slogans such as ‘Hancur Lynas, hidup rakyat’ (Destroy Lynas, long live the people), ‘Stop Lynas, save Malaysia’.

The protest takes place just a day after 
Pahang MB Adnan Yaakob blasted Chinese newspaper journalists as “stupid” for reporting his statement on the issue.

SMSL said the locals fear that the proposal will ruin the town’s economy and newly-established tourism industry.

The former mining town some 40km northwest of Kuantan has suffered years of decline since mining activities ceased in the 1980s. The situation has recently only improved through weekend tourism.

In a phone interview after the rally, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh (right) said she told the protesters in her speech that the government has got their mind wrong, in zoning Sg Lembing as potential dump site due to the town’s mining history.

“The government say (Sg Lembing’s) former mine tailings (monazite) have a radioactivity of 20bq/gram, which is higher than that of the Lynas waste,”

“If that is the case, what they need to do is to clean up the mine waste, not put Lynas’ waste into it,” said Fuziah, a key figure in the anti-Lynas movement.

Citizen paying the price

During this morning’s protest, SMSL vice chairperson Ismail Abdul Bakar warned that locals could have their livelihoods affected if the dump site destroys their environment.

“The transportation of huge amount of radioactive waste through the highway, passing kampungs and towns will further spread Lynas’ toxic waste around,” he said.

“It is unacceptable and totally unjust to expect ordinary citizens to pay such a high price while a foreign company gets to pollute our rivers, our seas and now our water supply and community tourism – all tax free!” he said.

He added that Sg Lembing was a water catchment area for Kuantan, and its ground water owing to the region’s limestone geology risks being contaminated by the radioactive waste dump.

“How many more communities will the government destroy for the sake of helping a foreign company profit from an unsafe rare earth plant?” asked Ismail.

Towards the end of the protest, Fuziah led the crowd to visit a nearby disused mine shaft, to show them how discarded mine tailings packed in bags had been left unattended by the previous miners and can contaminate the surroundings.

“Some of the bags are now broken, and tailings have leaked into the stream which in turn goes into the rivers,” she explained.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Pahang menteri besar’s outburst yesterday where he blamed Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s (AELB) chief Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan for recommending Sg Lembing as the alternative Lynas dump site, Fuziah said Adnan’s excuse is not valid.

“If (Adnan) really cares about rakyat, he should have objected to Raja Abdul Aziz’s suggestion when he heard it. But he did not,” she said.

The local food product shop hung banner to offer protestors special discount to show support.                                            Walking(right) was the tauke.


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  2. Government approved lynas special committee

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