Hornbill Unleashed

October 29, 2010

Petrified Baram natives want ‘dam plan’ scrapped

By Joseph Tawie

Some 20,000 indigenous natives of Kayan, Kenyah, Saben and Penan communities living in the Baram division are horrified to hear about the voluminous fast-flowing Rajang River drying up, a phenomenon blamed in part to the impoundment of the controversial Bakun dam which began on Oct 13.

The unexpected dry spell and the continuous impoundment has caused untold misery and hardship for those living along the Kapit, Belaga, Nanga Merit and Pelagus areas.

“Never before have the Baram residents ever heard of the Rajang River drying up or seen such a thing,” said Philip Jau, chairman of Baram Protection Action Committee in a statement to FMT.

“We don’t want this (dry up) to happen to the Baram River, if the construction of Baram dam is to proceed,” he said.

“The committee therefore demands that the government scrap its plan to build the Baram dam which has a capacity of 1,000 MW. Otherwise at least 20,000 indigenous Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Saben and Penan communities from hundreds of longhouses and villages situated along the Baram River valley will be affected and displaced,” he said.

Jau said the majority of the communities living in Baram “strongly and vehemently oppose the Baram dam” and also all the other planned and currently under construction dams throughout Sarawak. He said the state had more than enough supply of energy even without these additional dams.

Not consulted

Jau said that the Baram residents were never consulted about the construction of the Baram dam.

“Even though it is still in its planning stage, the people have a right to know and to decide whether to agree or disagree with the project,” he said, pointing out that if all the planned 12 dams and Bakun Dam are operational, Sarawak would have an insane amount of surplus electricity or 600% surplus.

“The energy generated from Bakun Dam alone is more than enough to power Sarawak,” he said.

The Baram dam is expected to submerge an area of 38,900 hectares (389 sq km) of land and forest. The area is mostly native customary land, and consists of temuda, cultivated lands, gardens, villages, churches, graveyards, community forests and sites of historical significance.

The people are going to lose their longhouses, villages, properties, lands and forests as well as the history as a result of submergence and displacement by the Baram dam.

The dam will also submerge the existing government schools, medical clinics, airstrip and other building facilities which the government have spent a lot of tax payers’ money on.

The longhouse/villages downstream affected by the Baram Dam are Long Laput, Sungai Dua, Sri Kenawan, Uma Bawang, Long Miri (Daleh Pelutan), Long Pilah and Long Kesseh.

In the upstream and within the dam reservoir area are Long Na’ah, Long Liam, Long San, Long Selatong (Kiri & Kanan), Long Apu, Long Julan Asal, Long Julan Pelutan, Long Anap, Long Palai, Long Je’eh, Long Moh, Long Sela’an and Long Semiyang as well as some villages in Akah River that are Long Beku, Ba’ Abang, Long Tap and Long Tebangan.



  1. Seems like the only way to drive out the orang ulu from Balui, Murum and then Baram is to FLOOD them out. Without land or territorial domain, the native communities, namely Kenyah, Kayan and Penan will surely lose their identity and rights. The pretext is to generate electricity but it is more about land grabbing and genocide of the natives. Neo-slavery is on the rise, baware !

    Comment by telang usan — August 5, 2014 @ 12:45 AM | Reply

  2. Don’t repeat mistakes made by natives in Bakun, Belaga.

    Comment by LakegSemang — January 7, 2011 @ 2:32 PM | Reply

  3. It is time for the brave people of the Baram and Rejang to rise up and fight the oppressive regimes of that Melanau family and the Malayans from accross the sea. The people have been told to vote for the BN candidates for decades in order to receive developments, and what development? The once mighty jungles are now gone thank to the timber thiefs, the clean rivers are now polluted and now one is about to dry up, hectares of land has been forcibly stollen from the rightful owners and planted with oil palm,…Is this development? It is time to vote our those weak political leaders who dance and kowtow to the political powers and who keep selling out on the people. The people of the Baram and Rejang were once so powerful that even the Brunei Sultan were scared of them…according to writings by early British writers such as Spenser St. John, Charles Hose, Haddon, etc. The warrior in these people is still there waiting for the right moment.

    Comment by TelangUsan Emowered — November 1, 2010 @ 9:50 PM | Reply

  4. didnt you guys voted for the white rajah despite all the land grabbing? darn for a couple hundreds of bucks once every 5 years, you guys happily voted for the most greedy CM, didnt you? stop complaining coz i am sure come the election, you all will still vote BN.

    Comment by aca — October 31, 2010 @ 12:37 AM | Reply

  5. With the disastrous precedence of Bakun on the Rejang, one would not even need to read an EIA on the giant Baram dams.
    No, no EIA is needed now for the people of the Rajang, the Baram and all over Sarawak to rise and vote out the Damned BN, as the Rejang
    calamities are painful enough, even for people not living along the Rejang.


    Comment by francis ngu — October 30, 2010 @ 11:45 PM | Reply

  6. The idea of making dams should be aborted because NREB could not come with the full statistic on the many failed projects over the years throughout the State. It was not only about the failure but a massive destruction of the State beauty. Secondly they are many high State revenue hijackers. Moreover is that a cunning channel to coax our poor rural folks to rip off their timber? Knowingly that majorities these poor rural folks have little education and they are definitely helpless to defend their rights against the State. As these poor rural folks are living in a minus poverty line surely they could afford No Vitamin RM! Instead of spending the State revenue onto further destruction of our green State land direct your attention on the many alternative sources of green energy.
    These green technology have had been proven its efficiency in providing energy serving the residential homes with minimal running/maintenance cost. Solar panels and technology are also easily available from China at competitive prices and its reliability. Look China has no regret on installing imported wind turbines to serve the countrysides due to remoteness. Though the Chinese government bears some negative impact but she is committed to her policy in fulfilling the needs of the citizens as a nation. Very soon China is No.1 on the green energy policy in ASIA. Why then our countryside villages are badly neglected even though they voted in the government for decades? Why Dams is always on Capt. Demon & The Gang agenda? Who cheat who then? Yunno, yunno(Georgie’s) building dams must require those basic material of sand, stone, cement and steel. But who hold the monopoly provider of these materials in the State? Will there be a revised freakish fluctuation on the prices of such commodities over the times. Moreover guess who will be the successful main contractors on the jungle smashing and the construction of the dams? Hey … Capt. Demon & The Gang …. you have had made your trench far too apart …. doubtful … you will be able to leap over it this time. Surely parai … mati keoi keoi this time.

    Comment by Miaowkia — October 30, 2010 @ 11:07 PM | Reply

  7. All protests, road blocks in rural interior where the people will be directly affected by the proposed dams, NCR land grabs, and displacement must be translated into votes against the UMNO dominated BN government in the coming state election and GE13.

    Comment by Luhong — October 30, 2010 @ 5:45 PM | Reply

    • For the natives of Sarawak it is definitely 1BlackMalaysia !

      Comment by Stephen — October 30, 2010 @ 5:47 PM | Reply

  8. This is just so, so wrong…

    Comment by Ghost — October 30, 2010 @ 12:06 PM | Reply

  9. “Sarawak would have an insane amount of surplus electricity or 600% surplus” as it was planned by the insane person, Taik Mammoth and supported by his blind, deaf, cowards and insane BN YB’s of Sarawak. No one has the balls to challenge Taik Mammoth decision on the damned dam. Now it is time for the people to take whatever it take, stand and put their hands together to defend their rights without depending on these useless BN YB’s or the “bought out” enforcement officers. We’ve seen lot of cases i.e. Sebangan, Kapit etc., not to name the others, where people rights were simply violated by Taik Mammoth and his cronies. Btw, it is too obvious that the primary objective is to loot the precious timber for instant money, typical example with proposed Murum damned dam. What else, even the “Monument of Corruption” Bakun also has lots of lessons to be learned by our people to vote out all these insane YB’s and their chief Taik Mammoth and make them scrapped, not just surplus.

    Comment by Akin — October 30, 2010 @ 8:55 AM | Reply

  10. If the mentioned villages be affaected….meaning 60-70%of the Baram people be affected!!!!


    Comment by Head Hunter 2 — October 30, 2010 @ 1:54 AM | Reply

  11. Yes…we don’t need another disaster. We supposed to learn from mistake but the gomen seems to be ignorant for the fact (anyway it’s them whose making profit so who care).

    What the orang ulu should do is March in protest as what the Iban in Sebangan did. If mighty Ranjang can dry up….the same thing will happen with Baram river as well and imagine how many people will be affected…Road?? I would say dirty track linking baram to the outer world is there but its not cheap to travel.

    How many people can afford 4wd cars? Per head to Lapok from Miri is around RM30-50 depending on what type car you’re taking….. To Long San RM60-70 one way!

    So to the people of Baram and surrounding…..it’s the future ofour people so rise against the dammed dam/BN!

    Comment by Head Hunter 1 — October 30, 2010 @ 12:31 AM | Reply

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