Hornbill Unleashed

November 14, 2013

Villagers block roads to Baram dam site, want heavy machinery removed

1459666_633072160090226_1604829675_nMUZLIZA MUSTAFA

A group of native villagers who have been protesting against the Baram dam today demanded that Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) keep its word and remove the heavy machinery at the dam site now that the three-week grace period has lapsed.

Peter Kallang, chairman of non-governmental organisation Save Sarawak Rivers (SAVE), said six natives from among the hundreds of villagers who blocked the access road leading to the dam site, handed the letter to SEB.

SAVE is a grassroots network of indigenous communities and civil society organisations in Sarawak whose main aims are to protect the human rights of the indigenous people and to stop the construction of the dams the Sarawak government plans to build.

“The natives wanted them to remove the machines when it was first brought in on October 23 but the representative said it cannot be done due to logistic issues. They asked to be given three weeks to arrange for transportation and logistics to remove the machines from the site,” he said.

“The natives wanted to tell the company that if they failed to remove the heavy machinery, the villagers should not be held responsible if anything should happen to them,” he said.

On another matter, Kallang said Penan villagers who were affected by the RM4 billion Murum Dam project will lodge a police report on drunk police personnel who had tried to “provoke” them.

Since September 23, police have arrested 10 villagers including two small children over the Baram Dam protest.

“Police should be professional and fair in carrying out their duty and not as a tool to harass the people,” said Kallang.

About 1,500 people have been displaced by the dam project. About 200 Penan, including women and children, are taking turns to camp out in the open to press their demands for fair compensation.

It is understood that the Penan people were promised RM500,000 for each family affected, a plot of land and some other perks when the dam becomes operational.

“However, they were later told that the government would only offer each family or household RM4,000 to move out and RM800 monthly allowance for four years,” said Kallang.

The Murum project is part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) plan, which aims to multiply Borneo’s cheap power supply by nearly 20-fold to draw in power-guzzling industries such as aluminium smelters and other factories.

Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) recently claimed that companies associated with Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, like construction conglomerate Cahaya Mata Sarawak, are likely to be the main beneficiaries of public contracts in SCORE.

BMF recently criticised the state government after disclosing that SEB had awarded a contract worth RM618.6 million to develop transmission lines in the state to a company linked to Taib’s eldest son, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib.

Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Sarawak Cable Bhd (SCB), won the contract.

BMF said company documents showed that Bekir is chairman of SCB and is its second-largest shareholder with a 33% stake in the company.

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3 Comments »

  1. It is time to burn and destroy any vehicles and machinery trespassing on NCR land in Barum and at. Murum.

    Comment by Special Branch — November 14, 2013 @ 1:20 PM | Reply

  2. Nice poster and well said! And when the poor fight back it’s called violence because the rich use samurai wielding gangsters and security forces to defend themselves against LOIN CLOTHED, DONATION BOX wielding poor protesting and blockading natives!

    Not fair lah like that!

    Comment by brian — November 14, 2013 @ 11:13 AM | Reply

  3. And those rich men have forgotten they had been from poor roots, yet they are doing these ruthless acts on their fellow poor countrymen. God is watching their evil, greedy deeds!

    Comment by Sharpshooter — November 14, 2013 @ 3:31 AM | Reply


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