Reports that the Sarawak state government has unofficially given the “green light” for the construction of the controversial RM4 billion hydroelectric power (HEP) Baram Dam have not deterred villagers at the anti-dam blockade in Long Lama who are adamant at staying put.
The Long Lama blockade was set up by the Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC) about nine months ago on Oct 23, 2013 as a sign that the villagers were against the HEP dam project to be sited between Long Naah and Long Kesseh some 200km inland from Miri City.
When strong rumours spread that Baram Dam had received the green light, 170 Baram villagers paid a visit to the resettlement areas of Sungai Asap and Tegulang and Matalun in the Belaga District in mid-July to listen to the experiences of those who had resettled making the way for the Bakun and Murum dams. (more…)
S.M. Mohamed Idris
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) would like to urge the Sarawak government to heed the call of the communities affected by the Baram dam, as expressed through the People’s Declaration against the Baram Hydroelectric Project 2014 released recently.
The proposed 1,200MW Baram dam is located between Long Naah and Long Kesseh, 200km from Miri. It is estimated that 20,000 people from the Kayan, Kenyah and Penan communities from 26 villages would be displaced by the dam.
Affected communities have begun blockading since October 23, 2013, to halt the movement of heavy machinery intended to be used for the related construction works. (more…)
The amendment will allow NCR land anywhere in the state to be bought or sold to any native group.
Sarawak government intends to amend the State land code to allow sale and purchase of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land among the natives regardless of where these lands are located.
Chief Minister Adenan Satem said the Land Code Amendment Bill will be tabled for approval in the State Assembly sitting in November this year.
“The amendment to the land code would enable the natives to buy any NCR land in any place in the state because if we limit the sale and purchase of NCR land only to members of natives in particular place or longhouse, the value of the land is almost valueless,” the chief minister told a press conference at his office here today. (more…)
The interactive Sarawak Geoportal includes an overview of concessions granted for logging and palm-oil plantations as well as raw data on the rapid deforestation in the state.
Switzerland-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has launched a new interactive internet-based geoportal that would help track use and misuse of any land in Sarawak.
The site has Sarawak’s confidential official maps, detailed information on land use changes and rainforest destruction in Malaysia’s largest state, said BMF director, Lukas Straumann. (more…)
Several business sectors being explored for enhanced cooperation that would mutually benefit the neighbours
The Sarawak government is in discussions with Brunei on electricity supply, telecommunication, tourism and air connectivity.
Second Resources Planning and Environment Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said the neighbouring country had shown interest in the state’s hydroelectric development and energy sector. (more…)
It has not been easy for the Baram villagers but they are determined to continue the protest to halt the construction of the Baram Dam.
(Jan 30) is the 100th day of their protest and they are staying put at the sites where they had mounted two blockades. The blockades were first erected on Oct 23 last year, just as a key meeting was held in Geneva to discuss Malaysia’s human rights record where UN member states had urged Putrajaya to respect the rights of the natives.
Vowing to protect their ancestral lands from the construction of the proposed RM4bil hydroelectric dam in Ulu Baram, hundreds of villagers have, on rotation basis, manned the two blockade sites – KM15 and Long Lama for the past 99 days with only one common objective in mind – stop Baram Dam. (more…)
The blockade mounted by villagers protesting against the Baram hydroelectric project last October.
The irony of the anti-dam protest in the Sarawak interior of Baram is that even as the indigenous people chalked up 100 days of their quest to stop the proposed RM4 billion hydroelectric dam, their centuries-old way of life, which they claim to want protect, is already being torn down.
There are signs that the proposed hydroelectric dam, which is still in the feasibility study stage, is slowly tearing up the social fabric of the ethnic communities living in the area of the dam site – even those least affected by the state’s grand project to harness Sungai Baram to power its industrialisation plan. (more…)
Annette Gartland @ http://ens-newswire.com/
An Indonesian court has found the palm oil company PT Kallista Alam guilty of illegally burning large swathes of the Tripa peat forest, which lies within Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, the only place on Earth where tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans can be found living together in the wild.
The court ordered the company to pay 114.3 billion rupiah (US$9.4 million) in compensation and 251.7 billion rupiah (US$20.8 million) to restore the affected areas of forest.
Tripa burning in 2012. (Photo by Paul Hilton/ SOCP/YEL)
The case was brought against PT Kallista Alam by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment. (more…)
Human rights NGO Suaram has condemned police action against Penan protesters fighting against the impoundment of the Murum dam, urging the police to instead protect the indigenous people.
Suaram coordinator R Thevarajan said that by arresting a protester and breaking up the blockade the community had put up to halt progress on the dam, the police are siding with the exploiters instead of the rakyat.
“We urge the Royal Malaysian Police to safeguard law and justice and to protect the interests of the Penan people instead of taking the side of the exploiters. (more…)
Penans from Ulu Murum, where the hyroelectric dam has been built, are terrified for their lives now that police have broken up their blockade, where about 300 have been demanding ample compensation for land and livelihood lost.
According to protester Gareng Jalung, 30-40 police officers armed with “loaded pistols and machine guns”came to break the blockade and bar protesters from stopping the dam impoundment.
Gareng, who was at Belaga police station when contacted, said that one long-house has also been torched, prior to the impoundment which has left seven Penan villages under water, all without notice.
“It is like the government is trying to kill us off. The Long Wat long house was torched last week, and we started our blockade on Sep 18. (more…)
Native people of Murum say they are being bothered by a foreign troublemaker and have lodged a police report against him.
Torstein Dale Sjotveit is a Norwegian, who yesterday caused complaints after shouting in the faces of Penan indigenous people, whom he is ejecting from their ancient homelands.
It is also alleged that he berated the police, calling them ‘cowards‘ for not taking harsher action against the protesting natives. (more…)
Workers at the Murum hydroelectric dam had their lives threatened by protesters who were instigated by “foreign troublemakers and anti-government NGOs”, Sarawak Energy Bhd says.
It said in a statement that the incident involved a “small” group of protesters who on Sept 28 allegedly threatenedits workers, using machetes.
This halted work on the powerhouse and tunnel, which only resumed this afternoon.
However, in a press conference after lodging a police report against SEB this afternoon, Penan protesters said that SEB’s CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit and police were “rough” towards the protesters and verbally abused them. (more…)
Prof Dr. Maketab Mohamed
POLITICIANS! MAKE A GREEN STAND!
THE MALAYSIAN NATURE SOCIETY (MNS) CALLS FOR NATURE CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION TO BE KEY ISSUES OF THE GENERAL ELECTIONS
The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) notes with serious concern the recent cases of environmental mismanagement that have been highlighted by the media, and calls on all political parties to pledge real action to halt unsustainable development. (more…)
Senior Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan’s claim that NGOs with ‘ulterior motives’ are misleading the Penan community has showed up his ignorance, says SAVE Rivers Network.
SAVE Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) a coalition of a number of non-governmental organisations, has slammed the Second Resource Management and Environment Awang Tengah Ali Hassan who claimed that the Penans in Murum have been led astray by certain quarters with ulterior motives.
“It is utterly false to say that the Penans are being made use of by NGOs,” said Peter Kallang, chairperson of SAVE Rivers, adding that it showed up his ignorance. (more…)
701 children in these villages have no access to school
Over 40% of the under five year olds living in the Penan villages due to be flooded at Murum are malnourished and 12% are severely malnourished, according to yet another shocking report that the government has attempted to keep secret.
This is just one of a series of disgraceful admissions about the criminal neglect of these tribal people by Taib Mahmud in the wake of his state-sponsored destruction of their forests.
Other monumental failings are in the categories of education and health. (more…)
Orang Ulu leaders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are reacting strongly to the statement made by Land Development Minister James Masing alleging that the Penans are ignorant of the benefits of the Murum dam, resulting in them being unhappy.
Masing had said that there was a need for better communication between the implementers of the project and the people at the grassroots.
“I have made a recommendation to the steering committee to include Culture and Heritage Assistant Minister Liwan Lagang to be part of the team which oversees the implementation of the project. (more…)
The blockade camp is running out of food – the Penan need help
To access our leaked copy of the secret “Resettlement Action Plan” refer to the base of this report.
The “Resettlement Action Plan” for the Penan communities due to be flooded by the Murum Dam should have been released BEFORE building started on the site.
According to international human rights protocols, the Penan ought to have been fully consulted and in agreement with the details of any move and they should have received guarantees about the lands, money and community services they could expect from the resettlement IN ADVANCE. (more…)
Stephanie Sta Maria
Sarawak’s yet-to-be completed Bengoh Dam could cost an additional RM60.57 million, according to the 2010 Auditor General’s Report.
Severe delays in the construction of Sarawak’s Bengoh Dam could send costs skyrocketing by an additional RM60.57 million, warned the 2010 Auditor-General’s Report.
The dam, located about 40km from Kuching, will supply untreated water to the Kuching Water Board’s treatment plant until 2030.
The initial construction cost stands at RM310.65 million. The amount was a secured loan from the federal government. (more…)
The state minister accuses them of stealing fresh fruit bunches from joint venture oil palm plantations.
Angry Penan landowners of Kampong Ogos in Niah here lodged a police report against state Land Development Minister James Masing who accused them of stealing fresh fruit bunches from joint venture oil palm plantations.
The report was lodged at the Batu Niah police station by Tua Kampong Ogos on behalf of 145 Penan families.
Landowners from the village were among those accused by Masing of stealing fresh fruits from the Suai plantation jointly owned by Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA), the landowners and Sarawak Plantations Sdn Bhd. (more…)
A group of natives want a directive issued by a minister to deny their customary rights on their land set aside.
The elimination of native customary rights (NCR) on land occupied by two groups of indigenous people in Sarawak amounted to a gross violation of their fundamental rights, the Federal Court here heard today.
Lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah, representing the native groups, argued that the directive issued by the Sarawak Resource Planning Minister to deny the customary rights of natives on their land ought to be set aside because it deprived the natives of their life, livelihood and way of life. (more…)
NST- ZUBAIDAH ABU BAKAR
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (third from left) and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam (fourth from left) expect to win the next state polls hands down. Taib urged BN parties to stick together at the Sarawak BN convention in Kuching on Saturday. — Bernama picture
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud beams with confidence as he leads Barisan Nasional into the next state polls, (more…)
The Kuching High Court this morning granted a further interim injunction sought by 15 Iban communities of Sebangan against two private companies to stop all logging and related activities on lands claimed by villagers as Native Customary Rights (NCR) land after full inter parte hearing. The same court had granted an injunction in an ex parte hearing on Jan 18 this year.
The injunction granted today restrains Quality Concrete Holdings Berhad, the logging licensee, and its appointed contractor, Loyal Billion Sdn Bhd, from continuing with their logging activities in the areas claimed by the Ibans. The injunction will be in place until the civil suit of the Ibans claiming NCR land is settled. The court has set a week commencing Aug 8 for the trial to begin. (more…)
An interim injunction has been granted to Numpang Anak Suntai and 13 other Plaintiffs representing 15 Iban longhouse communities in upper Sebangan in Simunjan, Sarawak, ordering Quality Concrete Holdings Bhd and its contractor Loyal Billion Sdn Bhd to stop logging, land clearing and other related activities over a logging licensed area, the timber licence allegedly renewed under questionable circumstances.
. Sarawak Report
While Taib Mahmud used his BN party convention (staged at the new Borneo Convention Centre, which he corruptly hired his own family to build and manage) to lash out at the ”liars and cowards”, who dare criticise his policies of ’progress and development’, Sarawak Report took receipt of a tape, some interviews and photographs.
The material shows the scavengers who scrounge their living out of the re-cycling dump in the car park of his own Borneo Development Corporation! The scenes take place every day just 150 meters from the office of his political secretary Karim Hamza, who also enjoys the job as Chairman of the BDC. (more…)
Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, chief political secretary to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, has been caught out in a bid to enable his boss to dodge a public debate on land matters with state PKR head Baru Bian.
DAP parliamentarian Chong Chieng Jen has branded Abdul Karim “foolish” for contenting that Baru cannot take part because he is not an elected representative and because he was appointed – not elected – to his party post. (more…)
Federal Court grants leave to challenge Sarawak government over its ‘usurping’ of native customary rights land
PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today set a momentous precedent when it granted leave to lawyers to challenge the Sarawak state government’s aquisition of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land.
Human rights lawyers Sulaiman Abdullah and Baru Bian argued that native customary rights were akin to ‘the right of life’ under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution and that methods employed by the Sarawak state government to acquire NCR land were unconstitutional. (more…)
Sahabat Alam Malaysia
Two cases involving several indigenous communities affected by the Bakun Dam (Bato Bagi & Others v State Government of Sarawak) and a proposed pulp mill factory in Tatau (Jalang Ak Paran v State Government of Sarawak & Another) won the right to appeal at the Federal Court. The cases involving 5 longhouses in Upper Balui and 1 longhouse in Tatau were heard at the Federal Court today before a panel of 3 judges.
The Bakun dam case was filed in 2000 while the Tatau proposed pulp mill factory was filed in 1999. Both suits were filed against the State Government of Sarawak. (more…)
The Sarawak government’s recent comment that there are only 1.5 million hectares of NCR land has confused natives, says state PKR chief Baru Bian.
Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has been challenged to an open debate to clear the confusion over the native customary rights (NCR) land and allegations that the state government is “robbing” natives of their lands.
Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian, in issuing the challenge, said: “This NCR land issue is crucial to them (natives), and they want to know the true stand of the state government. (more…)
PKR Central Wanita vice-president Voon Shiak Nie ( Right ) has taken the cudgel to Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar for belittling calls for automatic voter registration to boost the number of voters in the country.
He was reported to have remarked, “Automatic voter registration would mean little if people did not vote. If most people can’t be bothered to vote, then voter turnout would be lower during election time, even if they were automatic voters.” (more…)
Barisan Nasional (BN) has held on to power in Sarawak through intimidation, but could still fall just like the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall, said the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who has turned into an internet and radio crusader against Tan Sri Taib Mahmud’s administration.
Clare Rewcastle Brown, who operates radio station Radio Free Sarawak and blog Sarawak Report from Covent Garden in London, told The Malaysian Insider that “every person I have spoken to is scared of the fact that the BN government will know how they vote.” (more…)
BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL / SWITZERLAND
Anti-Taib protests are spreading to the United States – US government asked to investigate allegations of the late former Taib aide and whistleblower Ross Boyert
SEATTLE / SAN FRANCISCO (US) The global campaign against Sarawak’s billionaire Chief Minister-cum-illegal logging tycoon, Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”), is gaining further momentum. Yesterday, human rights groups and environmental campaigners in the US announced a picketing campaign outside Taib properties in Seattle and San Francisco. Similar protests will be held next week in the UK and Canada. (more…)
Allegedly “bullied and ignored” by Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, State Land Development Minister James Masing, who has faithfully waited in the wings, is now, it appears, prepared to go his way, with or without Barisan Nasional, if forced to accept Pelagus assemblyman Larry Sng.
Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, made a covert visit to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak recently, causing much discomfort among Taib’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) party. (more…)
Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz
Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is desperately in need of a political successor to safeguard his and his family’s empire in Sarawak.
I have regular meetings with the someone whom I would like call the “Oracle of Syed Putra.” I first started penning my meetings with the Oracle way back in 2008 in my blog.
The “Oracle” is the alter ego of Tun Daim Zainudin. They grew up together. They knew each other’s siblings. They played together and did things normally done by the young and old alike. They were inseparable. (more…)
BMF, Aidila Razak
Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fund today released a list of 49 companies located across four continents around the globe, which it claims are linked to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his family.
The list includes 13 companies in Malaysia, 10 in Australia, nine in Canada, seven in Hong Kong, four in the United States, three in the British Virgin Islands, one on the island of Jersey and two in the United Kingdom. (more…)
“Don’t hold me for ransom!” seems to be the stand Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has taken with the state’s Chinese community.
He said the Chinese in Sarawak cannot expect the government to give in to their demands.
“The government cannot give the Chinese 100% because it means that the others will not get anything. We cannot give the Malays 100% because that will also mean somebody will be left out. (more…)
. Sarawak Report
Cheers to Elia Geneid the niece of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and daughter of his favourite sister Raziah Geneid. Except, of course, any other Muslim girl shown publicly waving a pint of beer or enjoying champagne such a fashion would risk a public lashing these days!
For this reason Sarawak Report, which does not condemn the consumption of alcohol, wonders why Elia and her friends would dare to behave in such a fashion, flaunting their drinking habits for the cameras? We can only conclude that such behaviour is tolerated by their families, who nevertheless demand that other girls behave in a far more modest fashion or risk punishment and humiliation. (more…)
Stephen Tiong, Malaysiakini
Villagers from six kampung in Lundu district at the southern tip of Sarawak came in full force today to file their defence and counter-claims against a company they accused of encroaching into their native customary rights (NCR) land.
Polar Horizon Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Titanium Management Sdn Bhd, whose majority shareholder is multi-billionaire Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s flamboyant son, Abu Bekir (left), was issued with the provisional leases (PLs) for the land. (more…)