PHOTO ESSAY: 'The Malaysian people say stop Lynas!'

Tens of thousands protested against Lynas, an Australia mining company building a toxic rare earths refinery in Kuantan. Photo b

Lynas, an Australian mining company, is building a rare earth refinery close to the heavily populated area city of Kuantan in Malaysia. The ore is to be shipped from a mine in Western Australia but the highly toxic and radioactive waste which the refinery will produce will not be accepted back by the WA government.

On February 26, 15-20,000 people converged from around the country to demonstrate in Kuantan against the refinery which has just been given government approval. This was the biggest ever environmental protest in Malaysia. There were also protests in several other cities around Malaysia and some solidarity gatherings in Australia.

The police and pro-government media claimed there were only 3,000 demonstrators in Kuantan. See Malaysiakini video of the march here.

These photographs of the march and mass rally in Kuantan were taken by CHOO CHON KAI, a leading activist in the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Socialis Malaysia - PSM) and made available for publication in Green Left Weekly.

A February 27 statement by the PSM, released by PSM Secretary General S.Arutchelvan, said: "The message is clear. The people have spoken up... The people do not want the Lynas Project in Malaysia which would only benefit Barisan Nasional [BN - the governing coalition] and its cronies.

"[The] PSM calls upon the BN government, listen to the people and stop Lynas now. If, BN is serious about the people's aspirations and still wants to go ahead with Lynas, call for a referendum and let the people decide whether or not Malaysia needs Lynas. PSM also strongly condemns all kinds of intimidation posed at the people who are opposing Lynas. In Penang, UMNO-BN used thugs to disrupt the rally. They continue to use old tactics to instill fear among people. BN cannot use this old tactic any more. The people have braved themselves.

"It's time for BN to use political will and stop Lynas! Or the people will use their will and stop Lynas and BN."

* * *




If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.