Marchers from Kuantan arrived at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur on Monday after a 350km walk to draw attention to their desire for better regulations for their region’s bauxite mining industry.
The thirty marchers of Red2Green, who range in age between 30 and 65, handed Mohd Nazif Jamaludin, principal assistant secretary of the Natural Resources and Development Ministry, a memorandum seeking more measures for regulating mining in the area.
According to the group’s representative Jefri Jaafar Tukemin, the marchers do not seek to have bauxite mining completely banned.
“We are not asking to stop the mining, we just want them to introduce better regulations for it,” he explained. “The most important thing is that it does not affect the public and we don’t want our children to face the pollution.”
His remarks came on the steps of Parliament House upon the group’s arrival.
“We want the government to realise how the locals in Kuantan have suffered due to the uncontrolled bauxite mining there,” he elaborated.
“There must be a SOP to govern the activity, from the mining stage until its end product. We are asking for it to be conducted responsibly, with rules and regulations to follow,” Jefri added.
The group said their march was largely unhindered, although a few of the marchers succumbed to the late-summer Malaysian heat.
“However this did not deter our spirit. We are bringing the voice of rakyat [an ordinary citizen]. The government should understand that this is not a political issue,” he added.
Yang Berhormat Puan Hajjah Fuziah Salleh, Kuantan MP, said the group walked from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur to take a stand.
“They are not fighting the mining, they just don’t want the pollution. No one should be sick. They want people to be able to go fishing in the sea and no one to be suffering from health complications,” she explained.