Hornbill Unleashed

November 1, 2013

‘Sarawak Energy trying to mislead the Penan’

Filed under: Dams,Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Dukau Papau

Penan families affected by the Murum Dam have accused Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) of trying to mislead them and the general public into believing that they would receive RM213.3 million in compensation for their longhouses and infrastructure facilities

Peliran-Murum Penan Affairs Committee (Pemupa) chairperson Ngang Buling vehemently refuted the claims today and said there was no truth in the SEB statement.

“The Penan are shocked by the claim, which to them is all rubbish,” said Ngang.

He was commenting on a ‘blanket statement’ issued by SEB on the payment of compensation to the Penan communities affected by Murum Dam hydroelectric project (MDHEP) in the Belaga district.

SEB said the affected Penan communities would receive more than RM600,000 per family in compensation for longhouse and infrastructure facilities upon being resettled.

In summing up, SEB said the cost involved was RM213.3 million for longhouses and infrastructure facilities alone, and this translated to more than RM600,000 per household.

NONENgang said: “None of the Penan has ever received such huge amount of cash as compensation for loss of their lands, burial grounds, houses, crops, traditional forest resources, and so on.

“We have no knowledge at all about the RM213.3 million,” he said in a statement to Malaysiakini.

“If it is true that the Sarawak government and SEB have paid or agreed to pay us this amount of compensation as stated in their demands, there will be no persistent and on-going road blockades and protests at the Murum Dam site,” he said.

Government did not keep its promise

Ngang said many of the Penan have pointed out that the government had assured them of the longhouses, infrastructure facilities and amenities at the Metalun and Tegulang resettlement sites, to be built without any charges.

“The Penan are saddened and regret that the government failed to abide by this promise,” he said, and they were no more convinced of sincerity of the state government and SEB.

He said on Oct 16, the Penan representatives were called to a meeting in Bintulu town with Culture and Heritage Assistant Minister Liwan Lagang, Belaga district officer Abdul Halim, officers from the Kapit Divisional Residency Office as well as the SEB representatives.

At the meeting the Penan were told that they would be offered only RM16,000 in compensation per family, which they rejected straightaway.

Meanwhile, village headman TK Abok Jalong slammed SEB’s statement that the Penans were being instigated by NGOs to remain at the Murum Dam site in order to pressure the government with their additional demands of RM500,000 as cash compensation.

“It is most unwelcoming to note the arrogant attitude of SEB for accusing the Penan of being instigated by NGOs, as the Penan are just exercising their right to be heard,” Abok said.

He condemned such wild allegations that belittled the Penan on their fundamental right to speak up for themselves and to demand just and fair compensation.

Village headman: No additional demand made

He said the community did not make any additional demand and has been consistent on their demands to the government, which included RM500,000 as cash compensation per family forced to move put because of the Murum Dam.

Their other demands are 25 hectares of land for farming for each Penan family, 30,000 hectares of forest area as communal reserve to each of the seven affected Penan villages; 10 percent in royalty from the Murum Dam revenue, an education fund for their children; a community development fund and ownership rights to land and forest area that are not flooded, including the islands created by the MDHEP.

NONEMeanwhile Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (Brimas) said it is very perturbed by the blanket statement of SEB, which tantamounts to confusing and misleading the general public on the amount of compensation to be received by the Penan.

“It seems that SEB failed to understand and differentiate between the issue of just, fair and equitable compensation and the development cost of he Murum Dam Resettlement project,” its regional coordinator Raymond Abin said.

“Even a layman knows that the RM213.3 million is the costs for the development and construction of structural buildings, infrastructures and amenities at the Metalun and Tegulang resettlement sites for the affected Penan villages.

“Brimas opines that the Sarawak government and SEB should be solely responsible and accountable for the development costs of the resettlement sites for the displaced Penan, rather than surreptitiously include these costs as their compensation package.

“Brimas sees this as very unfair treatment and unethical deed of SEB and the state government for not genuinely engaging and consulting with the affected Penan at all levels of the community on their entitlement and right to compensation.

“All this while, the affected Penan communities have forwarded their demands very clearly to the state government, seeking just, fair and equitable compensation for losses of ancestral land, properties, burial grounds and forest areas arising from the acquisition of their land by the government for the MDHEP,” Raymond said.


  1. SEB got it wrong. To lump the cost of relocation, infrastructures, amenities and the new long houses for the affected Penans as part of the compensation to them is totally unacceptable and the Penans are right to protest this unfair treatment. It was not the Penans who asked for that Damned dam to be built on their lands, it was not them who asked to be relocated and they absolutely did not agreed to the damned dam in the first place. SEB came in the dead of night and secretly built that damned dam until they cannot hide its existence any more.


    It was taib, his cronies, seb who found it right to uproot these people, build a damned dam to make sure they are uprooted and relocated! So why is it right for taib, his cronies and seb not to compensate these people the amount they asked for? And why are taib, his cronies and seb making it look like the Penans are the ones who asked for the damned dam so that they can be relocated and paid compensations?

    Where are the ybs that these people elected to defend them from injustices, from being screwed everyday of their lives by greedy individual, businessman, corporations and the gov’t?

    Comment by brian — November 1, 2013 @ 3:59 PM | Reply

  2. Learn your lessons from the other dams. See how much were they compensated and the livelihood they are going through now. Learn from those displaced people of those dams being built or in progress. If you don’t learn, that’s your own stupidity not to learn. Do we really need so many dams?

    Comment by Sharpshooter — November 1, 2013 @ 7:26 AM | Reply

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