In what could be a final sign of desperation to remove the presence of the rare earths processing plant of Lynas in Kuantan, Malaysia, Wong Tack, one of its strong opponents and president of the Himpunan Hijau, has allegedly threatened to burn it down.
Overview of the Concentration Plant at Lynas Corp.'s Mt Weld Rare Earths Mine in Laverton, Western Australia.
But despite the presence of the Lynas rare earths processing facility, people have been reported to continue purchasing houses in the area where the plant is located, a testament that people believe the plant is not hazardous.
Local police at Pahang said they would be inviting Mr Wong for his statement after he was allegedly quoted to have said the threat at a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) event in Kuantan recently.
"We will not compromise with any party who tries to create chaos and we give a stern warning that action will be taken against those involved," Datuk Sharifuddin Ab Ghani, Pahang police chief, told reporters on Thursday.
He said Mr Wong will be investigated under Section 507 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation.
Mr Wong was likewise alleged to have said that he will call and organise street demonstrations to oust the new government should the clamor to permanently shutdown the Lynas plant not be met.
"We have laws in the country, so do not act recklessly without thinking. This threat seems to be an intimidation and it is an offence," said Mr Sharifuddin.
Meanwhile, prices of houses in Kuantan and its surrounding areas are expected to soar in the coming months.
"Nobody asked any question about it (Lynas) at all. This is reflected in brisk demand for houses in areas like Balok which are priced between RM150,000 to RM180,000 per unit," Cheoh Chee Guan, State Real Estate Housing Developers Association chairman, was quoted by The New Straits Times Press.
This meant that most people understood that it was all right to live near the controversial plant, he said, since none of the buyers had expressed concerns about Lynas when they bought the properties here.
"With the setting up of new factories and industries in Gebeng, there will be a migration of new workers to fill up the workforce. They will need a place to stay and may buy or rent houses near their workplace."
At present, the fast selling houses are those in Balok near Gebeng. "Most of the units are single storey and within their budget."
But as highly qualified technical employees, top executives as well as expatriates come into the area, more expensive housing units will be built to accommodate the influx.
"As for general workers, they will normally seek affordable houses in Gebeng and Balok and within the next three to five years, there will be a significant rise in demand."
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