Thursday, 21 March 2013

Press Statement by Wong Tack

 Press Statement by Wong Tack 
19th March 2013


Wong Tack, Chairman of Himpunan Hijau released a press statement on 19 March 2013. The full text is appended below:

Since the official announcement on the 12th of March of my candidacy for the parliamentary seat of Bentong on the DAP ticket in the upcoming general election, there has been much discussion and speculation in the press and the social media on several issues.

With this press statement, I hope to clear the air on these issues.

1. Standing as a Himpunan Hijau (HH) candidate.

I, together with the HH steering committee, have all along stated that we are taking our struggle for a safer environment to the next level after all our protests and walks have fallen on the deaf ears of the Barisan Nasional government. We want a voice in Parliament that would speak clearly and loudly for the protection of our environment for our future generations. As such, we have come to an agreement with the Pakatan Rakyat(PR) leadership to contest in Bentong.

Contesting on DAP’s ticket was a decision by the PR leadership. To put it simply, it could have been on a PKR or PAS ticket as well if the PR leadership so decided. The understanding that we in HH have with PR is that I am an independent green candidate contesting under the DAP ticket and with Pakatan’s full support.

As such, the fact that I had been a dormant DAP member is irrelevant as I have never been active as a DAP member and has never pursued my environmental causes under the banner of DAP.

2. Remaining as chairperson of Himpunan Hijau Steering Committee

Since I am contesting as a HH candidate, the steering committee felt that it would be unnecessary for me to relinquish my position as the chairperson of Himpunan Hijau.

The steering committee had discussed this matter and they have decided that I should remain as the chairperson of Himpunan Hijau. This decision is supported by eight out of the nine steering committee members. It is my hope that members of the public would respect their decision.

They also agreed to look into the leadership of our movement and the role of HH only after the General Election when it becomes clearer what we need to do should Pakatan takes Putrajaya and I am elected.

3. Lynas has to be shut down.

Much confusion arose after the press conference on the 12th of March. The reason for the confusion and resulting disappointment was due to my poorly made “off-the-cuff” statement which gave the impression that I welcome Lynas. I regret the indirect way I spoke and wish to bring clarity to my stand on Lynas.

Should Pakatan form the next Government of Malaysia, the Temporary Operating License (TOL) for Lynas to operate must be revoked and stop work order must be issued immediately.

If Lynas intends to challenge the termination of their operations, they must go through the most stringent and transparent Detailed Environment Impact Assessment (DEIA) and public consultation process.

In my professional view, given my experience as an environmental consultant, Lynas will not be able to comply with the many requirements of the DEIA including stringent public consultation process and especially on the disposal of the processed waste. To put it simply, once the plant is shut down, there is no chance for it to reopen again.

The same will be true for the use of cyanide in gold refining in Raub and other places; the petrochemical project in Pengerang, the construction of dams in Sarawak and Sabah, and all projects that pose a danger to the health, livelihood of people and destruction of the environment. All these projects must be subjected to proper and transparent review and any project that pose a clear and present danger to the community must be stopped immediately.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank all Himpunan Hijau supporters who kept faith with me even as I make this transition into politics. All the green warriors who came out to our rallies and walks, you are the real motivation for me to step into the murky waters of partisan politics. I ask for prayers that my heart will remain pure and eyes ever focused on our common vision – to see a brighter, better and greener Malaysia for all.

I also wish to thank all the civil society leaders who endorsed my move into politics. Your comradeship and partnership with me and Himpunan Hijau augurs well for the future of the civil society movement in Malaysia.

With the above statements to clarify my position, I hope that all our energy and attention could be refocused on our Serambi Hijau Pahang campaign to bring about a change of state and Federal government.

I have now made my base in Bentong and getting acquainted with the people here and understanding their aspiration for their community.

Salam Hijau, the choice is ours!

Wong Tack

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