Residents of Kampung Baru Bukit Koman, who live adjacent to the goldmine, claim that the use of cyanide had badly affected their health but the government and the mining company - Raub Australia Gold Mining Sdn Bhd - has disputed this.
Led by the ad hoc Ban Cyanide Committee, the residents have been opposing the company since 2007, even before the company began operations, through the courts and appeals to the federal government, to no avail.
With every avenue exhausted, Raub activist are determined to stage a major protest today and the authorities have allowed them to use the Raub sports complex field, better known locally as Padang Milo.
The police have barred the group from holding any processions and have requested Raub Australia Gold Mining to have a representative present at the protest to receive a protest note.
LIVE reports follow:
1.30pm - It is good weather here in Raub. At least 2,000 people are already here in Padang Milo donning the Ban Cyanide Committee's trademark green t-shirt bearing the words Himpunan Hijau.
Incidentally, there are a large number of people at the nearby Dataran Raub, managed by the Raub district council, which was the venue originally requested for by organisers. - to follow live reports visit Malaysiakini...Malaysiakini, 2/9/2012, Green rally underway in Raub
Tomorrow's Raub rally wins support of 60 NGOs
A total of 60 NGOs have thrown in their support behind tomorrow's Raub rally protesting of the use of cyanide in gold mining at Bukit Koman.
In a joint statement issued today by the Pahang Raub Ban Cyanide in Gold Miining (BCAC) and some 34 other NGOs, they claim that the local mining facility employing toxic cyanide has led to increased incidents of skin diseases, eye irritation, coughing and general unease since operations commenced in 2009.
"The plant is situated very close to the Bukit Koman New Village. The distance between mine and the closest house occupied by villagers is a mere 100m.
"Those who are relatively well off and could no longer bear the sufferings eventually moved out from Bukit Koman, leaving behind mostly elderly persons and children," the statement read.
This endorsement follows the Tuesday pledge of support from some 24 youth and environmental organisations.
The coalition added that the air quality at Bukit Koman has also consistently deteriorated.
"The monitoring results indicated that Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN), both non -existent in natural ambient air, have at times shot up to a level that exceeded any permitted limits. This could constitute the cause(s)of the health problems reported," they said.
‘Pleas fell on deaf ears'
Tomorrow's rally dubbed "Himpunan Hijau Raub" is aimed at voicing dissatisfaction at Bukit Koman residents' deteriorating quality of life since the gold mine began operations.
"Yet more painful is that all complaints and appeals made to the authorities have fallen on deaf ears. They did nothing to prove that the mines are safe.
"The government allows this doubtful polluting factory to run 24-7 non-stop. On the other hand, objecting residents have been ill-treated with harassments and misinformation for the last three years," they said.
BCAC is part of a loose coalition of green groups born out of local environmental struggles, particularly in Pahang and Selangor.
In February, anti-Lynas groups had organised a 15,000-strong "Himpunan Hijau Kuantan rally" against Lynas' rare earth processing plant in Gebeng which was similarly backed by enviromental groups from Rawang, Bukit Koman, Cameron Highlands and other green movements.
‘Cyanide is opposition propaganda'
Meanwhile, national news agency Bernama quoted Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob as saying that claims of the health of locals being affected by cyanide use at the gold mine is mere opposition propaganda.
"This is a propaganda created by DAP. The Health Ministry which had conducted a study at Bukit Koman has verified that no skin diseases have been found," he was quoted as saying.
He added that the state govenment, too ,conducts its own study at Bukit Koman from time to time to monitor the environment.Adnan (right) claimed that DAP deputy chairperson Dr Tan Seng Giaw who is a skin specialist had admitted that there was no concrete evidence that Bukit Koman residents were suffering skin diseases caused by the gold mining.
See also earlier posts:-