Saturday, November 17, 2012

Senior citizens in 'long march' hailed

  • Wong Teck Chi
  • 11:15AM Nov 17, 2012
An independent film director has described the participation of senior citizens in the Himpunan Hijau march from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur as a rise of civic awareness.

NONETan Chui Mui (right), 32, who joined the marchers two days ago, was surprised by the active participation of a number of senior citizens in the grueling 300km trek.

"I think Malaysians have changed a lot, I can't imagine myself seeing uncles and aunties taking a stand two years ago. They now know what they are doing," she toldMalaysiakini.

Tan, who was born in a fishing village near Gebeng, Kuantan, opposed the Lynas rare earth processing plant which is located in her home town.

She has produced a documentary film on the campaign against the plant, where many residents in the area have raised fears of radioactive waste.

"This is part of an awakening in civic awareness. Most people used to think that the country has nothing to do with them, but now they feel it's necessary to take a stand, and I am happy to see that."

NONETan reached Maran on Thursday night and began her march yesterday with some 80 activists. They walked a total of 31km before setting up camp in Temerloh.

Tan said she decided to come back a few days earlier from Beijing, China to join the march, before attending a business meeting in Kuala Lumpur scheduled next Tuesday.

"This is an interesting movement. Even though it is very simple, it looks incredible."

Tan urged Malaysians to contribute to the campaign as they will face the effect of the plant, one way or another.

"You must take part and it can be in any form," she stressed.

Donation of socks

Meanwhile, a netizen drove from Kuala Lumpur at 3.30am yesterday to deliver 100 pairs of socks sponsored by a private company so that the marchers could protect their feet.

"Everyone is taking part, so it's not right for me to stay at home. I too have to play my part," said Suzzane Lau, who worked as sales assistant. Lau said her boss supported her decision.

azlanThe march was led by Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wang Tack to pressure the government to stop the Lynas rare earth plant, which is due to begin operation soon.

Last Friday, the Kuantan High Court dismissed an application by three Gebeng residents to suspend a decision to grant the plant a temporary operation licence.

The marchers arrived in Temerloh last night after four days of marching, having about half of the journey.

They are expected to arrive at the gates of Parliament next Tuesday. The group also planned stopovers at Mentakab, Bentong and Genting Highland along their way to the capital.

~ Malaysiakini

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