Hornbill Unleashed

October 3, 2013

Police arrest a Penan near Murum dam

MurumDukau Papau

Police from Belaga fired shots into the air to stop more than 300 protesters who also wanted to be arrested after a protester, Ngang Buling, was arrested at their Murum dam blockade site at 10.10am today.

Save Sarawak Rivers Network (Save) chairperson Peter Kalang said after Ngang was arrested, some 300 others who were guarding the blockade rushed to the police personnel and demanded that they be arrested as well.

“The police feared some untoward incident might take place and fired shots into the air to stop the action of the protesters,” Kalang said in a message to Malaysiakini.

NONEThe police took Ngang to the Belaga police station, where he is being detained. Three cars carrying protesters followed the police to the station.

Kalang said the protesters, who contacted Save at 10.15am, said there were about 30 police personnel from Belaga, Miri and Bintulu sent to the blockade.

Belaga police district headquarters said it was still waiting for information from its “officer on duty in Belaga, Inspector Sufian”.He said they identified the police officer who fired the shots as ‘Sufian’.

However, when Sufian was contacted, he directed Malaysiakini to Sarawak deputy police commissioner Lau Hong Soon, who was not available for comment.

Report lodged on impounding of dam site

Malaysiakini has also been trying to reach the protesters at the blockade, but the calls were not connected, possibly due to patchy telephone reception in the Murum dam area.

Ngang on Monday lodged a police report against the impounding of the Murum Dam, which the natives say was done without due notice and was threatening their lives, property and livelihood.

Dam builder Sarawak Energy Bhd had earlier claimed that the Penan had threatened the lives of Murum dam workers with machetes, prompting work to halt for three days from Sept 28.

News about the Penan blockade of the Murum dam has been dominating the front pages of local newspapers and news portals since Sept 23, when they began erecting blockades to stop contractors and workers of SEB from entering the dam site.

Several Penan families have refused to move out of Long Wat, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Singu, Long Malim and Long Menapa on the upstream of the Murum River because the government refused to meet their demands for compensation.

Among the demands are RM500,000 per family for the loss of their properties, 25 hectares to be allocated to each family, 30,000 hectares of forested area be allocated for their hunting needs and a royalty payment of 10 percent a family from the SEB profits.

10 months to fill dam site with water

The SEB is expected to take about 10 months fill water to the optimal level in the RM4 billion dam in to order to produce electric power. This flooding will submerge some 24,000 hectares of the Penan heartland.

The Penan have lodged a police report against SEB for not informing them about it impounding the dam site to flood it, which they say will threaten their safety.

More than 1,500 Penan have already been forced to relocate to Tegulang and Metalun.

Meanwhile, lawyer Baru Bian, who is prepared to act on behalf of the Penan, said police can arrest the protesters if they commit criminal offences.

“But if there are no threats and no grounds, the police should be prepared to be sued,” said Bian, who is Sarawak PKR chief and Ba’Kelalan assemblyperson.

“I am closely monitoring the case,” he added when asked about the arrest of Ngang.

2 Comments »

  1. The police went there geared up like commandos and well prepared to strike fear on these innocent and helpless natives who were merely protecting their land and habitat. It is very obvious that all the BN Dayak leaders were turning a blind eyes on the incident. many Dayak intellectuals also prefer to be coffee shop heroes.

    Comment by Awaken Dayak — October 4, 2013 @ 12:39 PM | Reply

  2. The penans put up banners as barriers and the police fire guns in return? The penans make police report and they are the ones arrested?

    How about the foreigner Torstein who rubbished the police calling them cowards?

    Comment by brian — October 4, 2013 @ 8:58 AM | Reply


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