Anti-Lynas march a hopeless struggle?
Sunday was a historic day for Malaysia. It was the day when ordinary citizens participating in a march reached KL after a gruelling 13-day walk from Kuantan in protest at the Lynas Rare Earth refinery project in Pahang.
These brave Malaysians who numbered just 70 to start with in Kuantan were finally joined by over 20,000 people from all walks of life and across the ethnic divide, for a massive rally in the vicinity of the Dataran Merdeka in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
It is regrettable that Dataran Merdeka,the iconic venue, where the marchers were supposed to gather, was closed for sudden repairs on the eve of the gathering.
This act by the DBKL was seen as an insult to the intelligence of the people, expecting them to believe their reason for the closure of the Dataran.
Despite their extreme tiredness from their arduous 13-day journey on foot from Kuantan, the marchers were in high spirits.
Even having to finally sleep on the road due to the sudden unexpected closure of the Dataran Merdeka did not dampen their spirits to stand steadfast in their struggle for justice.
They presented with the same three resolutions which were first raised at the mammoth Himpunan Hijau 2.0 rally in Kuantan on Feb 26 this year.
These resolutions were :
1. Calling on the government to close down Lynas rare earth refinery plant.
2. Closure or re-evaluation of all hazardous projects in Malaysia including the gold mine in Bukit Koman, Pahang, the high-tension electrical tower in Rawang, Selangor, and the refinery and petrochemical integrated development project (Rapid) in Pengerang, Johor.
3. Calling for the end to the land grab of Orang Asli villages
Once again the people have 'challenged' the government in a defiant but peaceful and lawful way.
They had walked 300km from Kuantan to KL to show their disapproval of the Lynas project which they see as a serious health hazard to them and the environment.
Malaysians from all walks of life are giving them total and unconditional support.
But many say the struggle against the Lynas project is a hopeless one.
Contracts have been signed, huge payments made and licenses for the project approved and awarded.
Even the rare earth concentrates have arrived and transported to the refinery in lorry loads. Are these brave Malaysians fighting a losing battle?
The government refused to listen to them before, are they going to now?
The marchers want to take their plight directly to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak but will he be willing to meet them?
It needs great courage and goodwill to meet those who oppose you.
Does he have that courage and goodwill to meet the very people he claims to serve? The scenario looks hopeless.
The only hope left is the wisdom of the people in the 13th general election and we hope that will bring good news for all Malaysians.