Bersih activists flood Merdeka Square, join thousands of others

The Malaysian Insider
By Mohd Farhan Darwis
August 30, 2012

PKR vice-presidents and Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Batu MP Tian Chua joining the people gathering for the Gabungan Janji rally at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on August 30, 2012.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Thousands, mainly dressed in yellow T-shirts in a show of support for the Bersih movement, flooded Merdeka Square tonight with others celebrating the eve of Merdeka Day.

Blowing vuvuzelas, they came hours ahead of the 11pm start for the countdown to Merdeka in the historic square where Independence Day was declared 55 years ago.

At 11.05pm, hundreds of supporters greeted the arrival of PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu as a police cordon looked on. Others there include PKR lawmakers Tian Chua and Fuziah Salleh.

Witnesses estimated more than 5,000 people in yellow T-shirts have gathered under the Gabungan Janji banner, showing their support for clean and fair elections.

They also distributed yellow flowers to the others congregating for the countdown.

Police are directing traffic around the square, which will be the venue for the annual Merdeka Day parade in the morning.

The authorities have closed down the Merdeka Square area to prevent unauthorised gatherings, forcing Mohamad Sabu and other lawmakers to gather around the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) headquarters across the field.

The organisers for the gathering also distributed song sheets mocking the song chosen by the government for this year’s theme “Janji Ditepati” (Promises Fulfilled).

At 11.30pm,  members from 47 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) gathered there with National Laureate Datuk A. Samad Said who recited “Janji Demokrasi” which was composed for this year’s independence day celebrations. The poet, who is also co-chairman of Bersih, was seen wiping away his tears during the recital.

The protesters also chanted and later joined others to shout “Merdeka” at the stroke of midnight.

There was some tension later when a number of motorcyclists, known as Mat Rempits for their rough behaviour, made noise during the countdown as they tried to make their way through the crowd thronging the roads around the square. But the situation turned back to normal when they left the area.

A 10-minute firework display lit up the sky after midnight and political leaders there finished with their celebrations.

Court grants SMSL leave to challenge Lynas TOL

3:28PM Aug 28, 2012

Stop Lynas Save Malaysia (SMSL) has obtained leave to challenge the Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s decision to grant a temporary operating licence (TOL) for the Lynas rare earth processing plant in Gebeng.

Kuantan High Court judge Justice Mariana Yahya has allowed a judicial review of Science and Technology Minister Maxmimus Ongkili’s rejection of the SMSL’s appeal against the TOL in June.”This means we get to proceed with the judicial review. The dates and all other related matters will be decided later and all parties shall be informed accordingly,” SMSL chairperson Tan Bun Teet (left) said by email today, after the decision was handed down.

Tan said Lynas’ lawyers had turned up in court this morning to apply to become a party to the proceedings.

“But they withdrew at the last minute when (lawyers) from all the three parties (government, Lynas and SMSL) met in chambers” he said.

AG’s consent

To the group’s surprise, he said, the attorney-general’s chambers (AGC) did not oppose the application for judicial review.

“We expected the representatives from the (AGC) to raise an objection … but instead they consented,” he said.

NONEOn Feb 1, the government had approved the TOL for the Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Gebeng.

Following fierce opposition from locals demanding the revocation of the TOL, a parliamentary select committee was set up to study the matter.

Subsequently, the TOL approval remained but additional conditions were imposed on Lynas.

Lynas had in July attempted to obtain a gag order against SMSL which has been vocal of the project, which will be crucial in breaking China’s monopoly of the rare earths processing industry.

However, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed the application, ruling that the matter is of public interest.

Anti-Lynas judicial review hearings begin Tuesday

5:56PM Aug 24, 2012

The two judicial review applications filed by anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) are to be heard by the High Court in Kuantan at 9am on Tuesday next week.

SMSL spokesperson Tan Bun Teet announced last month that he and two other activists would file for a judicial review of the award of a temporary operating licence (TOL) to rare earths refinery Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board.

Vice-chairperson Ismail Abu Bakar and two other Kuantan residents would also file a judicial review of Minister of Science and Technology Maxmimus Ongkili’s decision to reject their appeal against the Lamp TOL.

“Since last March, when we first heard of the Lynas project, we have sought advice from relevant experts. As responsible citizens, we have written to raise our concerns with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) and also the prime minister.

“None has addressed the issues we have raised. Then, we facilitated concerned citizens to appeal to the Mosti minister, with expert information and evidence we obtained about the Lynas project. The minister has also let us down,” Tan (above) said in a press statement today.

Action to be taken in Australia as well

SMSL explained that the minister responded by imposing conditions on Lynas but did not suspend the TOL, even if it would cause risks to the environment, local economy and human health.

“All we have seen so far are recommendations and conditions. How have the government and Lynas met the recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)?

“What has Lynas done to satisfy the government’s conditions? Where is the transparency that the IAEA has emphasised?” Ismail asked.

He also said that the lives of residents would be affected and that Kuantan, the state capital, would become a depressing place once Lynas started operating.

“The government has failed in its duty of care to protect us, the rakyat, and the environment which we rely on for our survival,” Ismail added.

The environmental group is also exploring and preparing for legal action to be taken in Australia, where Lynas is based, to stop the refinery from operating.

Himpunan Hijau 2 Sept pindah ke padang bola


6:46PM Ogos 23 2012

Kumpulan alam sekitar Himpunan Hijau akan mengubah lokasi perhimpunan yang dijadualkan pada 2 September ini ke sebuah padang bola sepak selepas permohonan untuk mengadakan perhimpunan di Dataran Raub telah ditolak oleh Majlis Daerah Raub.

Lokasi terbaru yang terletak di belakang Taman Tasik Raub itu telah dicadangkan oleh Ketua Polis Daerah Raub, Wan Mohd Samsudin Wan Osman semasa mesyuarat bersama Jawatankuasa Bertindak Haramkan Sianida semalam.

Menurut akbar berbahasa Cina Sin Chew Daily, pengerusi jawatankuasa itu, Wong Kin Hoong berkata, pihaknya tidak mempunyai pilihan dan menerima lokasi yang dicadangkan.

“Jawatankuasa Himpunan Hijau, Raub, 2 September akan bertemu dengan ketua polis daerah sekali lagi pada 27 Ogos untuk menandatangani perjanjian perhimpunan,” katanya seperti dipetik akhbar itu.

Beliau berkata lagi, jawatankuasa itu juga telah bersetuju untuk tidak membawa kanak-kanak berusia 15 tahun ke bawah.

Sianida digunakan untuk mengekstrak emas daripada amang yang diperolehi daripada perlombongan terdahulu dan juga sisa yang logam teroksida di lombong berkenaan.

Penduduk Kampung Baru Bukit Koman, yang terletak berhampiran lombong berkenaan mengadu bahawa asap daripada aktiviti pemprosesan di lombong berkenaan menyebabkan pelbagai masalah kesihatan.

Kumpulan berkenaan mengambil tindakan undang-undang ke atas pelombong berkenaan namun kes mereka diketepikan oleh mahkamah.

[Baca berita penuh ]

Anti-cyanide rally to be at Raub football field


1:46PM Aug 23, 2012

An enronmental group in Pahang has agreed to shift its Sept 2 anti-gold mine demonstration to a football field after its application to hold the rally at Dataran Raub was rejected by the Raub District Council.

The new venue, located behind Raub Lake Garden, was suggested by Raub district police chief Wan Mohd Samsudin Wan Osman during a meeting with the Ban Cyanide Action Committee yesterday.

NONEAccording to a Sin Chew Daily report, committee chairperson Wong Kin Hoong (left) said the committee had no choice but to accept the police suggestion.

“The committee of ‘Raub Sept 2 Himpunan Hijau’ will meet with the district police chief again on Aug 27 to sign a rally agreement,” Wong is quoted as saying.

He said the committee has also agreed to the police request that participants do not bring children aged 15 and below to the rally.

The committee was formed by Bukit Koman residents who maintain that a local gold mine using cyanide, a highly toxic chemical, has caused them various illnesses but the Health Ministry says it cannot confirm this.

The Sept 2 rally – dubbed Himpunan Hijau Raub – is the culmination of five years of protest against the use of cyanide in the gold mine.

The local council rejected the committee’s application to use Dataran Raub for its gathering on grounds that the venue had already been booked for another activity.

Sin Chew Daily reported that police would handle the rally application according to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

Organisers expect 20,000 turnout

“I will reply to the committee on Aug 27 as stated by the law. According to its notice, the rally will be held from 2pm to 4pm, and 10,000 people are expected to turn up,” Wan Mohd Samsudin is quoted as saying.

However, Himpunan Hijau publicity director Shirley Hue expects the crowd to hit 20,000 on that day including 20 busloads of supporters from Kuantan.

Cyanide is used to extract gold from tailings – waste material from previous mining – and oxide deposits at the mine.

The residents of Kampung Baru Bukit Koman, which is located next to the mine, have complained that the fumes from processing activities at the mine have caused a long list of health problems.

They have tried to take legal action against the well-connected miners but their suit has been thrown out by the court.

Majlis Daerah Raub tolak permohonan Himpunan Hijau


5:22PM Ogos 21 2012

Majlis Daerah Raub telah menolak permohonan kumpulan alam sekitar, Himpunan Hijau, untuk mengadakan demonstrasi di Dataran Raub membantah Lombong emas Bukit Koman pada 2 September.

NONEDalam satu kenyataan, Jawatankuasa Bertindak Haramkan Sianida berkata majlis itu menjawab permohonan mereka pada 17 Ogos dengan menyatakan bahawa Dataran Raub telah pun ditempah untuk aktiviti lain.

“Jawatankuasa ini sangat tidak berpuas hati dengan jawapan tersebut. Sebelum menetapkan tarikh, kita sudah periksa dan
mendapati tidak ada aktiviti di padang itu pada hari berkenaan,” kata pengerusi jawatankuasa Wong Kin Hoong (kiri).

Wong berkata majlis daerah itu melanggar hak pembayar cukai dengan menghalang mereka menggunakan kemudahan awam.

bukit koman mining lake 310107“Ini juga satu penghinaan kepada usaha-usaha perdana menteri untuk menggalakkan ketelusan dan pembaharuan,” katanya.

Wong berkata jawatankuasa itu mengutuk sekeras-kerasnya
tindakan majlis tersebut yang didakwanya telah menafikan hak awam mereka terhadap kebebasan berhimpun yang dilindungi di bawah Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan Akta Perhimpunan Aman 2012.

Jawatankuasa itu telah menjawab balik kepada majlis itu pada hari yang sama ia menerima  notis tersebut, dengan meminta butiran aktivi yang dikatakan akan diadakan di situ serta meminta untuk berdialog dengan pihak majlis.

[Baca berita penuh]

Raub council says ‘no-go’ to Himpunan Hijau


12:52PM Aug 21, 2012

The Raub District Council has rejected an environmental group’s application to stage a demonstration at Dataran Raub against the Bukit Koman gold mine on September 2.

NONEIn a statement, the Ban Cyanide Action Committee said the council had responded to their application on August 17, stating that the Dataran Raub had already been booked for another activity.

“The committee is very dissatisfied with this response. Prior to fixing a date, we had already checked and found that there was no activity at the field on that day,” said committee chairperson Wong Kin Hoong (left).

Wong said the district council was thus violating the rights of its ratepayers by preventing them from using public facilities.

“This is also an insult to the prime minister’s efforts to promote transparency and reforms,” he said.

Wong said the committee strongly condemns the council for denying the public their right to freedom to assembly which is safeguarded under the Federal Constitution and the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

Dialogue sought

The committee replied the council’s noticed the same day that it received it, seeking details of the said activity at Dataran Raub and also requested a dialogue with the council.

bukit koman mining lake 310107“We hope that the authorities respect the wishes of the public and make the correct decision,” he said.

The committee was formed as a response to the use of cyanide in gold mining activities in Bukit Koman, about 3km north of Raub.

Residents at Bukit Koman claim that the use of cyanide had caused themvarious illnesses but the health ministry has denied this.

The rally on September 2 – dubbed Himpunan Hijau Raub – is the culmination of five years of protest against the use of cyanide at the Bukit Koman gold mine.

Cyanide is used to extract gold from tailings – waste material from previous mining – and oxide deposits at the mine.

But residents at Kampung Baru Bukit Koman, which sits adjacent to the mine, have complained that the fumes from the mine have caused a long list of health problems.

They have tried to take legal action against the well-connected miners but their suit had been thrown out in court.

Court to hear Lynas suit Sept 26

Free Malaysia Today
Teoh El Sen
| August 14, 2012

The Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) wants the Lynas defamation suit to be heard in the Kuantan High Court.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today fixed Sept 26 to hear an application to transfer the Lynas defamation suit against pressure group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) to the Kuantan High Court.

Judge John Louis O’Hara will also hear another application by SMSL on the same day which seeks to obtain documents from Lynas which the Australian rare earth miner is refusing to release.

He will make a decision on both applications on the same day.

SMSL’s lawyer, Bastian Pius Vendargon, told this to reporters after the court heard both parties in chambers today.

“The court will hear the application to transfer the case first,” he said.

Representing Lynas is lawyer Wong Kha Hui.

Bastian said both applications were filed a week after the last decision by the court on July 26, in which Lynas failed to obtain an injunction to restrain SMSL from further publishing information it deems defamatory.

The High Court had then dismissed the Lynas application for an injunction against SMSL and ordered it pay RM5,000 in costs.

O’Hara had ruled that he could not grant the injunction, as based on the evidence produced by the plaintiffs, the court could not conclude whether the statements were defamatory.

In the main defamation suit filed on April 19, Lynas Corporation Ltd and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd filed named SMSL Sdn Bhd and its directors Tan Bun Teet and Lim Sow Teow.

Three others were later added to the suit, namely three volunteers, Hang Chong Leung, Lee Chow Fong and Ismail Abu Bakar.

The article in contention, “Civil Society Organisations’ joint statement on Lynas issue: SMSL & NGOs statement against Lynas”, was posted at SMSL’s website on March 22.

Lynas claimed it contained statements that were “false”, “damaging” and “defamatory” and asked the court to order the defendants to remove it until the disposal of the suit.