Under the leadership of the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA), several civil society organizations from Malaysia organized what they called Himpunan Hijau 109 or GREEN GATHERING in Kuantan on 9 October 2011.
This was a massive event for peace and the environment, where over 5,000 people attended to endorse the Earth Charter and commit to make use of it in their areas of activities. One of the goals is to raise awareness and spread the vision and values of sustainability as articulated in the Earth Charter. Among the attendees were the main influential human rights groups committees in Malaysia such as BERSIH2.0, and SUARAM, as well as Save Malaysia, the Stop Lynas Campaign (SMSL), and representatives from indigenous communities.
SMSL Campaign posted on their website: “(SMSL) is collaborating with the Himpunan Hjau 109 Organizing Committee to release a series of articles relevant to the Earth Charter detailing many issues of concern relevant to Malaysia to instill a greater understanding of some of the fundamental principles of the Charter, whilst highlighting how a more sustainable and safer path could and should be pursued for Malaysia.”
Despite the fact that the police tried to cancel the event by withdrawing the permit granted beforehand, and by blocking the access roads, people still showed up and expressed their support of the event.
Mr. Wong Tak, President of SEPA, said: “There was an atmosphere of togetherness and jubilant celebration, a festival of life with songs like Rasa Sayang constantly being sung by the crowd and music from Chinese gongs, Indian tablas and Malay kompangs.”
For the organizers and supporters, the main objective of this endorsement ceremony was “to put Malaysia in the international stage joining hundreds of millions of others individuals, groups, businesses and governments to demand a cleaner and safer development pathway now and for the future to protect our life source, planet earth, and to ensure social harmony and justice”.
Most of the attendees of this endorsement ceremony are opposing a proposed rare earth processing plant project of Lynas Company, due to concerns over the dumping of radioactive waste material in this area.