Hornbill Unleashed

November 22, 2013

Plight of Penans brought to Tasmanian parliament

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

FMT Staff

Green Party MP Kim Booth has brought up in the Tasmanian Parliament state-owned Hydro Tasmania’s involvement in the contentious Murum Dam and the human rights violations against the Penans in Sarawak.

The Tasmanian Parliament has called on its government to intervene immediately and compel the Sarawak administration to compensate the Penans affected by the Murum Hydropower Dam project.

Tasmanian government-owned energy service provider Hydro Tasmania has a “leading role” in the Murum dam project.

Green Party MP Kim Booth, who moved the motion in Tasmanian Parliament last week, said the construction and impoundment of the controversial dam had forced the resettlement of 1,500 Penans.

In his motion, Booth wrote: “Our own government business enterprise, Hydro Tasmania, is intimately involved in this project.

“Hydro Tasmania has a project director to oversee the construction of the Murum Dam and a vice-president for Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) is in charge of Corporate Social Responsibility, including the re-settlement of indigenous people,” he noted.

He said detailed news reports published in France and Norway had focused on the Murum blockade and destruction caused by the development of the mega dam.

In his motion, Booth pointed out that the main contractors SEB was “never granted consent” by the natives to build the dam on their native customary land (NCR).

“Some have resisted their forced relocation and are blocking the access road to the dam.

“The police have tried to isolate them, cut off food supplies and prevented human rights observers from accessing the area and several people have been arbitrarily arrested, detained and charged including at least two minors which is in contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” he said in his motion.

Call for immediate intervention

Booth called on Tasmania’s Minister for Energy “to direct Hydro Tasmania to immediately intervene to ensure that the demands of those who do not want to be forcibly resettled are met by the Sarawak government.”

He also said 27 Malaysian and international NGOs had written to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak expressing concern over the state’s decision to isolate, intimidate and threaten Penan families.

This is the second time this week that Malaysia has seen such adverse publicity in foreign parliaments.

Earlier this week, Malaysia’s perceived prejudice against Christians in the country was heard in the UK Parliament.

MP Tom Greatrex, who is a member of the All-Party Committee on Malaysia, made special referrence to the predicament of the Christians in East Malaysia.

“The situation there (Malaysia) is of significant concern. The recent decision in Malaysia to ban Christians from using the word ‘Allah’ which has been used in Malay as a term for God for centuries.

“It (Malaysia) has effectively outlawed the Bible, particularly in the Christian eastern states of Malaysia,” he said referring to Sarawak and Sabah.


  1. aussies,

    no conscience left?
    Tasmanian Devils on the prowl?

    Comment by abb — November 24, 2013 @ 11:31 PM | Reply

  2. Najib, Rosmama and Taib are untouchable. They will say, ‘Malaysia is a sovereign state and do not meddle with us’. So goes the murun dam and penans too will be damned. Thanks to APCO – 1Malaysia equals 1Isreal. So rural voters, use your brains wisely the next time you vote in 2O15.

    Comment by Justice Lover — November 22, 2013 @ 5:54 PM | Reply

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