300 gather against haze and climate change inaction

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 300 people braved the heat and haze to voice their displeasure against inaction over climate change.

Organised by Klima Action Malaysia, the rally contained seven demands for action against the haze and another four against climate change.

The demands include calling for a declaration of a climate emergency (darurat iklim) to focus on policies and to mobilise funds to curb climate crisis, that the government will create a haze and transboundary pollution Act, form a special committee to investigate companies causing haze, and create more public awareness on the climate crisis.

The rally participants began their march from Sogo at about 4.30pm yesterday, and walked all the way to Dataran Merdeka.

Rally goers included children carrying placards demanding to save planet earth and act against climate change.

K. Raja Rajeshwary, 12, and her friend M. Sasiharini, 11, came all the way from Penang with their cousins and uncle to take part in the protest.

Raja said she has been learning about climate change and its effects since she was seven.

“My teachers made sure they allocated at least half an hour to tell us about the environment and climate change.

“I am here to support this rally and hope the government will take proactive measures to stop the haze, ” she said.

Indigenous rights activist Mustafa Along, 32, from Gua Musang, Kelantan, said he has witnessed first-hand how deforestation brings natural disaster.

“We are unable to do anything, so we are taking our own initiative to help create awareness, ” he said.

Subang lawmaker Wong Chen, who also joined the rally, said transboundary laws are needed to help put an end to the haze.

“I will bring it up in Parliament and suggest that satellite images be used to show areas that have haze, and we will ask the corporations to defend themselves, ” he said.

Klima Action Malaysia co-founder, Ili Nadiah Dzulkafar, said she was happy with the turnout.

“We speak about the future of our children, but we need to think about our future too.

“We will bring our demands to Parliament next month. We will also upload our demands on social media platforms, ” she said.

The rally was part of the Global Climate Strike, which took place in various cities worldwide, to protest climate change.

No untoward incident was reported, save for a brief moment when the participants were about 500m from Dataran Merdeka, and the police asked them to move to the pavement as they were obstructing traffic.

Participants were singing and chanting Darurat Iklim as they walked.

The rally, which also featured speeches by Wong Chen as well as other participants, ended peacefully at 6.40pm.

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