PENGERANG, Sept 30 — A sea of green and noise will break the characteristic silence of Kampung Sungai Rengit here this morning as thousands converge to this sleepy corner of Johor to rally against the development of Petronas’ RM60 billion petrochemical complex — a major event that could see Umno’s Johor bastion crumble.
The Himpunan Hijau Lestari mass rally is expected to blow the lid off
months of simmering frustrations felt by Pengerang’s 28,000-odd
villagers who believe the mega project would come at too great a cost to
According to media reports, the state government has already invoked
compulsory land acquisition under Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act
1960 to resettle the seven villages occupying the 6,424-acre space
earmarked for Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemicals Development (RAPID)
The total value of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC)
in Johor, which includes Petronas’ RM60 billion RAPID, is believed to
involve a whopping RM170 billion worth of investments in total, once it
starts operations in 2016.
The mega project is expected to turn Pengerang into a boom town for
global petroleum investors, rivalling neighbouring Singapore as Asia’s
most vibrant petrochemical hub, and creating over 40,000 job
opportunities for locals from construction to downstream activities.
the government’s plans have still run afoul the local communities
living in the many fishing villages girdling the southern shore of
Apart from fear over reports that one of the investors in
RAPID-KuoKuang Petrochemical had to abandon its plan to house a
petrochemical project in Taiwan following concerns that those living in
close proximity to such developments would see their lifespans reduced, a
number of the affected 3,129 villagers in Pengerang are also unhappy
with the government’s compensation payment.
According to previous reports, licensed fishermen have been offered
RM30,000 in compensation payments for their loss of livelihoods while
unlicensed fishermen are offered RM15,000. Smallholders of between one
and two acres of land have been offered between RM65,000 to RM105,000.
The government has also offered villagers the option of subsidised
alternative housing on a 6,000 square foot piece of land with a built-up
area of between 750 and 1,600 square feet, some 15 to 20km from their
But local villager Kasran Dollah said the government was out to “kill the Malays” with their offers.
“It is not like we are fighting the government. We are just asking them to help,” he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.
“At first, us Malays agreed with the compensation... but when the
rates dropped to just RM2.80 per square feet... we were dissatisfied...
it’s like they are out to kill the Malays,” he said.
The retired school teacher will be among the many keynote speakers
headlining this morning’s Himpunan Hijau Lestari protest at Dataran
Sungai Rengit, joining a host of others from Johor-based and national
NGOs, including organisers of the anti-Lynas rally in Kuantan.
According to local coalition NGO Pengerang chief Anis Afida Mohd
Azli, the mass rally is expected to draw in some 10,000 people, turning
it into yet another massive show of public anger that could potentially
turn into major concern for the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government
ahead of the coming polls.
“We hope that the local villagers will come out. They are indeed angry with the situation, they are very angry,” she said.
Since yesterday, protestors from across 25 locations nationwide had
begun streaming into Kampung Sungai Rengit, located at the southernmost
tip of Johor here, turning the quiet coastal township into a hive of
activity ahead of this morning’s protest.
When met, organisers told The Malaysian Insider that they
have already run afoul the authorities as both the local council and the
police have refused to give their go-ahead for the mass rally.
Three roadblocks are expected to be erected to
block the single carriageway into Kampung Sungai Rengit, but event
coordinator Zaaba Abdul Samad said the authorities “may be able to stop
the vehicles but not the people”.
The outspoken activist added that the Pengerang issue would likely be
Umno’s sore point, even affecting its chances of recapturing the
parliamentary seat in the coming polls.
He pointed out that during the previous two elections in 2004 and
2008, Umno’s Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had cruised to
easy walkover victories as the opposition had trouble with its
“But this time, we will ‘lawan tetap lawan’ (fight to the end),” he said.
When met in Kampung Sungai Rengit earlier, Himpunan Hijau chairman Wong Tack told The Malaysian Insider that the Pengerang issue should not be regarded as a matter of concern only for the local villagers.
He pointed out that much like the anti-Lynas movement in Kuantan,
where the government’s approval of Australia-based Lynas Corporation’s
rare earth refinery had caused public uproar due to safety concerns, the
Pengerang project was no different.
“This is not about Sungai Rengit or Pengerang. It is a national
issue. That is why we can see thousands of people coming in from across
the country... they know they have to come forward, they know they need
to stick together to ensure the country has its future, that our
children have their futures,” he said.
Post a Comment