Hornbill Unleashed

November 14, 2013

Sarawak natives deserve social justice

Alyaa Azhar

Save Rivers chairperson Peter Kallang claims that police had stopped the supply of food, water, medicine from entering Murum.

Social justice must be meted out to the thousands of indigenous community in Sarawak who have reportedly been at the receiving end of the state’s ambitious project to develop 12 dams to support its Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (SCORE) aim.

Alluding to reports of poor and inadequate compensations to native communities who have suffered grave losses as a result of the Batang Ai, Bakun, Baram and Murum dam projects, Sibu-based NGO, Ideal, has called on all Malaysians to back calls for social justice.

Its director Wong Meng Chuo said today the affected natives were not against development but want to be properly compensated and the project carried out properly.

According to Wong, the construction of the dams did not follow guidelines.

“The construction of the dam did not follow guidelines. Before construction, they must take into account the sentiments of the people.

“The Sarawak government did not get the free, prior and informed consent of the people beforehand.

“They must receive social justice. These people deserve the same amount of land taken away from them in the name of development to build houses and grow crops.

“Development should ensure that their livelihood are better. Instead now they are the losers as their predicament is worse than before,” he said.

Wong added that the power gap should also be narrowed, where everyone must be able to sit down in one table for discussion referring to reported breakdowns in negotiations over compensation which have led to the continues blockaded at the Murum and Baram dam sites.

He was speaking at a press conference held here today to draw the attention of Peninsular Malaysians to the social and environmental violations in Sarawak in relation to the construction of dams

Police block supplies

Last week 10 Penan protestors, including two underaged children, were arrested. Their ‘crime’ was allegedly collecting toll from motorists passing the blockade.

For months now the blockades have been an ongoing affair. The situation came to boil last month when protesting Penans chased away major contractor Sarawak Energy Berhad’s (SEB) workers from the site, bringing work at the site to a standstill.

The situation remains at stalemate with continued heavy police presence at the Murum Dam site.

Today it was reported that allegedly drunken policemen continued to harass and intimidate the Penans, a situation that raised concerns among NGOs over the safety and welfare of the community.

The report said Penans alleged that SEB had provided the police with alcohol.

Commenting on the latest incident, Sarawak Save Rivers Network, Peter Kallang said police should be professional and non-partisan in assisting the native.

“The police should not take sides. They have been agitating the Penan people. They should not do this. They should not used as tools by the government to harass the people,” he said.

Kallang also claimed that the police had set up a road block to stop the supply of food, water, medicine, social workers and reporters from entering Murum.

The Murum Dam is almost complete and the resettlement of the 1,500 affected people has begun.

The proposed Baram Dam is expected to 20,000 indigenous people and submerge over 400km2 of rainforest when impounded.

Suaram advisor Kua Kia Soong who was also present at the press conference reminded West Malaysians that they will be affected too as with every dam construction, there will be cost overruns.

“Who pays for the overruns…Malaysian taxpayers. Don’t forget, our money in EPF was used to pay for Bakun,” he said, adding that the dams will be economically disastrous.

Kua also lamented the socially disruptive effects the dams will bring.

“Other than that, the environment will be damaged. Just think about all the timber and rainforest that is going to be destroyed,” said Kua who has been banned from entering Sarawak for “anti-logging activities”.

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2 Comments »

  1. And justice is also giving BACK whatever were taken from the natives including lands,stolen timbers, clean waters and rivers, wild animals especially the wild boar and their lives!

    And also stop the exploitation of the natives especially by the two rahman sisters, their cousin , relatives and their Chinese stooges!

    Comment by brian — November 15, 2013 @ 4:59 PM | Reply

  2. Justice is to stop intruding their NCR land, exploiting and stealing their timber, polluting their water and killing their animals or livelihood.

    Comment by Sharpshooter — November 14, 2013 @ 3:41 AM | Reply


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