Free Malaysia Today – KL folks ain’t singing the Lynas blues

Patrick Lee | November 16, 2011

The city dwellers feel that it is not their problem cause the plant is in Kuantan. The Malay media also appears not to care.


KUALA LUMPUR: Those living in the nation’s capital and the Malay media appear not to care about the controversial Lynas rare earth plant in Kuantan, Pahang.

According to independent filmmaker group “Survivial Guide Untuk Kampong Radioaktif”, Kuala Lumpur residents think that Lynas is a Kuantan matter and therefore of no importance to them.

The group’s producer Chua Thien See told FMT: “When we talk to people in KL, they will say it is only a Kuantan issue. But Lynas is a Malaysian problem.”

However, she has no explanation why the Malay mainstream media is reluctant to cover anything that is considered not Lynas-friendly.

“The Malay press does not cover the Lynas issue. We have sent invites (to them) to cover our press conferences, but they never show up,” she said.

Because of this, Chua added, the majority of the Malay community remain in the dark about the controversy.

Some of these events include the ongoing release of Kampong Radioaktif’s short films, which poke fun at a world affected by radiation.

The films are a response to the Australian mining giant Lynas Corporation Ltd’s plant, which may see operations commence by 2012.

Some residents in the area fear that the running of the plant may see a repeat of the 1987 Bukit Merah disaster, where a leak resulted in cases of leukaemia, followed by seven deaths.

Today, the Bukit Merah refinery is undergoing a clean-up process worth RM300 million.

Awareness through laughter

The group has so far released one film on YouTube, entitled “Masakan Cinta”. It stars Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh as a TV chef who attempts to cook a non-radioactive meal for her guests.

According to their Facebook page, the group plans to release three more videos on YouTube (Orang Minyak XX, Welcome to Kampong Radioaktif and Lai Kwan’s Love) at 10pm over the next three Sundays.

Chua told FMT that the films – produced on a pro bono basis – were done as comedies to avoid coming across as being “didactic or preachy”.

“We have to create awareness and make them laugh, then maybe they’ll realise that its not a laughing matter,” she said.

After the last video is released, Chua said the group is planning to conduct a “tour” where the videos will be shown to the public, especially the rural Malay community.

“We’re going to have to go to the Felda-controlled people and into the villages,” she said.

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