Hornbill Unleashed

October 4, 2013

Stop impoundment, Penans plead

William Mangor

The Penan and Kenyah communities have lodged a police report after their pleas were allegedly ignored by the state government and Sarawak Energy Berhad.

MIRI: Penans affected by the alleged unannounced impoundment of the Murum Dam have lodged a police report against the Sarawak government and the main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB).

In the police report lodged yesterday, they claimed that SEB had failed to notify them of the impoundment and that most members of the community are yet to move to the new resettlement sites and are at risk.

They said the community was still in negotiations with the state government and as such SEB’s action to impound the Murum Dam was illegal.

A spokesman from the community, Lugan Usang who hails from Long Tangau said his people were at risk because of the impoundment.

“I am worried about my peoples’ safety and livestocks. There are still many Penan and Kenyah communities in Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu, Long Malim, Long Wat and Long Umpa villages who have not shifted to the resettlement sites.

“We were totally caught by surprise with this impoundment.

“The government never issued any notice or obtained our free, prior and informed consent before starting to impound the dam,” Lugan said.

Furthermore, Lugan said that the unannounced impoundment of the dam would soon cause their properties, farms, fruit trees and their customary lands to be destroyed.

Lugan further said that until today, the state government and SEB had yet to decide on their demands for compensation on the houses, farms, fruit trees and other properties.

“We do not want our properties to be destroyed as these are their only evidence to claim for compensation,” Lugan said.

Lugan also pointed out that the Penans and Kenyah were not ready to move because the resettlement site at Metalon has yet to be completed.

“The crops and fruit trees which were promised to us by the government to sustain our livelihood have yet to be planted.

“The same goes for the school and the clinic, it is not built yet. How are we going to live at Metalon?” he asked.

Another resident Senang Kalang from Long Luar just wants the impoundment “stopped now”.

“We want the state government and SEB to honour our demands and give us our due compensation. We urge the state government and SEB to stop the impoundment immediately until all our demands are met,” he said.

SEB CEO chased out by Penans

Meanwhile in Murum, the protesting Penan and Kenyah communities reportedly chased SEB chief executive officer Torstein Dale Sjotveit from the dam site yesterday for failing to meet their demands.

The Penans said that Sjotveit was arrogant in dealing with them and had “no interest at all” in negotiating with them.

Instead they claimed he ordered the protesters to lift their blockade and leave the area.

But the Penans instead chased him out. The situation forced police to intervene and take Sjotveit away to a secure location.

1 Comment »

  1. The Penans should all come down to Kuching and take over SEB office in return for their flooded lands and properties and make the foreigner toasted Torstein their cleaner to clean toilets for them!

    Comment by brian — October 4, 2013 @ 9:01 AM | Reply

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