Hornbill Unleashed

October 29, 2013

‘Baram Dam site now inaccessible’

Filed under: Dams,Human rights — Hornbill Unleashed @ 1:46 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Winston Way

  • Protesting natives have ‘successfully’ chased away Sarawak Energy Berhad workers at Baram dam construction site and blockaded the area.

Natives, mostly Kayans, from Long Lepaut and Long Kesseh  which is downsteam from the Baram Dam site are staging the third phase of their blockade in Long Lama, making the project area inaccessible to Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) workers and officials.

“Baram Dam site is now inaccessible..it is a complete shutdown..,” said local NGO Save Rivers Network chairman Peter Kallang.

He said the reinforced blockade made it impossible for cement trucks and workers to construct the access road to the dam site.

“SEB did send some people to talk to the natives. Two SEB staff coming from Baram, Augustine Supen Taja and Ding Juh, came and tried to talk to the natives, asking them to negotiate, but they (the protesting natives) just ignored them (the two SEB personnel),” Kallang added.

Kallang said there were between 100 ad 200 natives involved in the blockades.

“They come from the affected areas (by the dam project), and take turns to man the blockades and stage the protest,” he said.

Kallang said the natives were determined to continue with their blockades, remaining firm, but in no way violent.

“In case the (SEB) workers return, the natives will chase them away again. They will continue to do so to make sure no works on the dam will start,” he said.

Acording to Kallang there was heavy police presence in the vicinity.

“Forty general operations force (GOF) personnel were there together with the surveying group (of SEB workers).

“However, they (the police) assured us that they were there to make sure everything was in control, and not to chase away anybody,” Kallang said.

20,000 natives will be displaced

The projected RM4-billion Baram Hydroelectric dam project is part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) project, and its reservoir would eventually submerge 39,000 hectares of land.

No less than 20,000 people from 26 longhouse communities would be relocated in the process.

The project has received intense objection from the Baram natives in recent years.

Last Thursday the protestors successfuly chased out 30 SEB workers doing geological studies upstream at the dam site.

The following day, the natives managed to chase away another  group taking rocks in Batu Uroh and Mount Kelulong.

“These workers were from a different company under contract for SEB. They were looking for rocks, to be used as materials for the construction of the dam,” Kallang claimed.

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2 Comments »

  1. A recently elected Baram YB said in the BP today to let the politicians resolve the matter with the protesting natives saying that he wants to meet them in town. Why meet the natives in town when you can go to their long houses? Is it because you are shy to meet them in their own longhouses knowing that you won the election by a paper thin margin? Some affected people said that it would have been a different story if some voting centres were not forced to close earlier then the actual closing time!

    Or is it because he dare not face the people who did not vote for him?

    They are protesting because they see no brighter future for them after their Long houses,lands, forest, jungles get flooded and under water. They are protesting because they see what has happened and is happening to those affected by first- Batang Ai, second- Bakun, third- Bengoh and now Murum. Life has not gotten better for these people. Some of them has given up and moved somewhere else to try and start afresh.

    For the politicians like him, building these damned dams is a gold mine to them that will ensure great wealth and secure their future. Will just wait and see in a few years from now, this politicians will be mega rich while those displaced folks will fare worst then they are now. The Malay saying goes’ HARAP PAGAR, PAGAR…..

    Comment by brian — October 30, 2013 @ 2:02 PM | Reply

  2. Fight for your rights and save your property from being destroyed by greedy corporations and corrupted politicians and thieves. Never be cowed over by those who think they can abuse their power and authority.

    Comment by Josephine Kueh — October 29, 2013 @ 3:00 PM | Reply


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