PETALING JAYA: Painful blisters, rain, and limited supplies have not deterred the group of activists on a two-week trek since Tuesday to rally support against the Lynas rare earth plant and highlight other environmental issues.
Instead the march is picking up pace — having gathered 80 people to walk with them and more support from well wishers along the way, according to Himpunan Hijau chairman Wong Tack.
Today, on their fourth day, they have already journeyed a total of about 100km, which was about a third of the 300km distance between Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur.
“It is tiring, but spirits are high and everybody is sharing this energy. We are starting to recover from our initial injuries and our muscles are building up, we can continue stronger,” Wong told FMT.
He said that it was encouraging to find all sorts of new faces each day as they make their stops in towns and villages.
“There are people all the way from Muar, Johor, Klang, one artist who came back from Beijing, and we have Leong Ngah Ngah (DAP’s Triang assemblyman) with us. It is amazing, incredible, beautiful. All fares well ahead.”
Wong said that he was very grateful to have received assistance in terms of food and drinks, and accommodation from supporters.
“Today I drank some home made herbal tea. These sustenance are not just for our body and stomach, but for our souls,” he said.
So far, the group have had coffee shop conversations with villagers who are curious about their walk, and given out brochures and leaflets about their cause. A couple of night ceramahs are also being planned.
Purpose has become clearer
Himpunan Hijau publicity chief Lee Chean Chung said that they were in Maran and is expected to reach Kampung Amah, in Temerloh by nightfall today.
Lee said the ‘long march’, dubbed the “Green Walk”, is expected to last 14 days since it started on Nov 12, going across 15 towns before reaching parliament on Nov 26.
Other planned stops are in Mentakan on Nov 17, Lanchang (Nov 18), Karak (Nov 19), Bentong (Nov 20), Bukit Tinggi area (Nov 21), Genting area (Nov 22), Sentul/KL area (Nov 23 and 24), Dataran Merdeka (Nov 25) and finishing off at parliament on Nov 26.
The walk was initiated by Wong, who also wanted to highlight other controversial projects like the petrochemical plant in Pengerang, the Raub gold mine, and the alleged land grab in Cameron Highlands.
The group was also joined by 10 Orang Asli villagers who are protesting the Baram and Murum dams in Sarawak. Other NGOs include the Raub Ban Cyanide Commitee and Pengerang Coalition.
Wong said that everybody has gained or learned something from the experience.
For him, Wong said: “I’ve gained something too. My purpose has become clearer than ever before — we have to stop Lynas and these other environmentally destructive projects, and to force the people in power to listen to us.”