May 31, 2011
KUANTAN, May 31 — For the second day in a row, demonstrators supporting the controversial rare earth plant forced anti-Lynas protestors to leave the Hyatt Regency here.
The group of about 100 men confronted a group of residents from Beserah, where the plant is located, just as they finished their meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency-led (IAEA) team that is here to meet local stakeholders.
After a scuffle, the Beserah group led by their assemblyman Syed Mohammad Lonnik and community leader Andansura Rabu had to be escorted by police light strike force officers to their car.
Earlier in the morning, protestors wearing “Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas” T-shirts were also chased away from the beach in front of the hotel by the pro-Lynas group.
Many of the pro-Lynas group were those here yesterday holding up banners supporting the IAEA and also Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.
Two reporters from Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau were also confronted by men who demanded they stop taking pictures.
One of the reporters said a man threatened to punch her if she did not stop.
“You want to report good or bad, think properly first. The government has already brought in a panel of experts.
“I am from Balok. We are more concerned than these people who come from Ipoh, Seremban and KL. Why do we want to chase away investors?” said members of the group to reporters later.
The nine-man review panel is here on a four-day visit to hear concerns from local residents and lobby groups before compiling a report by the end of June.
The government had bowed to public pressure last month and put the project by Australian miner Lynas Corp on ice pending the review by the team of international experts.
Despite the government review, Lynas expects no delay to its plans to begin operations in September as it maintains the plant is safe.
It is anticipating a windfall of RM8 billion a year from 2013 onwards from the rare earth metals that are crucial to the manufacture of high-technology products such as smartphones, hybrid cars and bombs.