Sunday 2 September 2012

Organisers say mining firm had cold feet

Organisers of Himpunan Hijau Raub rally today have expressed disappointment at Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) Sdn Bhd over their failure to send high-ranking officials to receive their protest note.

himpunan hijau raub 020912 wong kin hoong“If this is a sincere listed company, why don’t they dare to face us?”, asked Himpunan Hijau Raub leader Wong Kin Hoong at a press conference after the rally.

The committee and Raub OCPD Wan Mohd Samsudin Wan Osman had previously signed an agreement last Tuesday, spelling out the conditions of the rally.

One of the conditions was that as a compromise for not marching to RAGM’s gold mine, a management-level representative would be sent to receive the group’s memorandum.

Instead, the representatives were nowhere to be seen by 4pm, prompting organisers to call for a march to RAGB.

Samsudin stopped the protesters about 500m from the field where they had initially gathered, saying that the representatives are on their way.

However, when the two representatives arrived, one introduced himself as the company’s chief of security (picture below, left) and the other as a designer.

MB and MP also absent

After an argument with the dissatisfied organisers, the duo left in a hurry while Samsudin agreed to hand over the memorandum to the company officials instead.

This concluded the rally and protesters began to disperse.

himpunan hijau raub 020912 ragm representativeAsked whether the committee felt cheated, Himpunan Hijau Raub secretary Chong Pui Har said: “Maybe they (the police) were also cheated by the gold mining company.”

When contacted, RAGM chairperson and CEO Andrew Kam Tai Yeow declined comment.

Other than RAGM representatives, others invited guests who did not attend the rally were Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob and Raub MP Dr Ng Yen Yen.

Asked to comment on the two politicians, Wong gave a curt reply: “(We) wish them all the best.”

Organisers of the rally estimated that there were 15,000 participants at the rally, but Malaysiakini journalists puts the number at 10,000.

Cops just wants to preserve the peace

himpunan hijau raub 020912 wan mohd samsudin wan osmanMeanwhile at a separate press conference, a jovial Samsudin (right) told reporters that he would be handing a memorandum to RAGM as part of his duties to preserve peace.

To a question, he opined that the rally today was lawful.

However when asked he did not discount the possibility to initiating investigations against the rally organisers for marching on the streets.

He also said that some 300 police officers were deployed today for today’s rally, most of them to direct traffic.

Ask for his estimate for the crowd size, Samsudin turned towards one of his officers who replied “8,000”.

Turning his attention back to the press later, Samsudin said: “For the police, the figure is not an issue”.

"The important thing is that our job is to maintain the peace during peaceful assemblies, which is allowed by the government under Act 736 – the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.”

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