Hornbill Unleashed

December 12, 2013

‘God made this land for us, the devil has taken it’: Sarawak dams its people

JENNY DENTON

There is a sober lesson in the Bakun dam saga for other communities along the Sarawak river and elsewhere in south-east Asia, writes freelance journalist Jenny Denton.

In the hinterland of Borneo an old lady is perched on a couch improvising into a microphone. A chorus of about 50 people, cross-legged on the floor around a small amplifier, chimes in at the end of each line with a harmonic drone.

“God made this land for us to enjoy,” the old woman sings. “But the devil, through Taib Mahmud, has taken it away.” The group erupts into laughter at the characterisation of Sarawak’s Chief Minister as the agent of the Devil and the skilful rhyming it has been phrased with. (more…)

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December 4, 2013

Penan blockade lifted after additional RM8,000 paid to protesters, says lawyer

A young Penan mother and her baby leaving their old longhouse at Long Tangau to their new resettlement village at Metalun last Sunday. - The Malaysian Insider pic, December 3, 2013.DESMOND DAVIDSON

A young Penan mother and her baby leaving their old longhouse at Long Tangau to their new resettlement village at Metalun last Sunday. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 3, 2013.The 77-day Penan blockade of the Murum hydroelectric dam has been lifted, following an extra RM8,000 offered to each family.

The end of the blockade was announced yesterday by one of the state’s Native Customary Rights (NCR) land lawyers, Abun Sui Anyit.

Anyit, who is also offering legal assistance to the protesting Penans, said they had been “strong-armed by the state government into accepting a token compensation package”. (more…)

November 21, 2013

Penans want Najib, IGP to intervene in Murum

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

Vignesh Kumar

The Penans have hit a stalemate on their negotiations with state government and the Murum Dam main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) over compensation and resettlement issues.

Thirteen members of the Penan tribe in Murum, Sarawak travelled all the way to Bukit Aman today to handover a memorandum to the Inspector General of Police demanding that the police “stop immediately any intimidation and provocation” towards the Penans who have erected bloackades at the Murun dam site (more…)

Penan march to Parliament with ‘fair play’ demand

Ram Anand

Fourteen representatives of the Penan community marched to Parliament House today, demanding a stop their eviction from their ancestral land, which has been taken over for a mega-dam in Belaga, Sarawak.

They went to the Opposition Leader’s office to hand over a memorandum that also asks Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to ensure a consultation process between them and the authorities.

Two hours earlier, they had gone to Bukit Aman police headquarters to hand over a memorandum urging the police force to behave in neutral manner over the blockade they have mounted near the Murum Dam. (more…)

November 17, 2013

Angry villagers will not surrender land to Baram dam

Dukau Papau

Angry villagers of Kampung Na’ah and Long Kesseh Ulu Baram, who accused Penghulu Ajang Wan and 13 other community leaders of ‘selling’ their ancestral lands against their will to Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), the owner of the proposed Baram dam, have lodged a police report with a view to initiating legal action against them.

The Kayan and Kenyah communities have three legal options open to them – one under the Kayan/Kenyah Adat and the other two under the Native Court Rules 1993 and the civil court, said Abun Sui Anyit (left), a human rights lawyer.

(more…)

November 15, 2013

Who To Believe? Torstein Sjotveit and SEB’s Propagada Or The Penan Pengulu?

Removed from his post - no wonder the Pengulu lost his job, yet in their media propaganda SEB still pretend he is their supporter!Sarawak Report

The quite shocking duplicity of Sarawak Energy (SEB)’s full-force propaganda drive has been exposed once again by a simple film.

In this latest documentary from Tegulang, the resettled Penan from Murum have been allowed to speak for themselves, instead of having SEB and Bernama speak for them to tame journalists.

And the very Penan leader, Pengulu Pao Tului, whom SEB portrayed for months as the man who willingly negotiated with them, has gone on camera to slam the way his community has been treated. (more…)

November 14, 2013

Misery in Murum

Alfian ZM Tahir

  • Displaced Penans say they are thirsty, hungry and have no protection from severe weather.

Three hundred Penan families displaced by the ongoing construction of Murum Dam are living in desperate circumstances as they battle for justice.

They have no access to clean water and decent food, and their tents, constructed from tree branches and tarpaulin, are ineffective against heavy rain. (more…)

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. (more…)

Protesting Penans claim police were drunk

William Mangor

A Penan lawyer-cum-activist has called on the IGP and the federal government to intervene in the Murum issue.

MURUM: Penan protestors mounting blockades at the Murum Dam site here claimed policemen who intimidated and harassed them were drunk.

Penan activist cum lawyer Abun Sui Anyit said based on ground reports from the blockade site, the police officers stationed in the area were allegedly being provided alcohol by the dam’s main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB). (more…)

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. (more…)

November 13, 2013

Do You Believe Your Eyes And Ears Or SEB?

Do You Believe Your Eyes And Ears Or SEB?

Sarawak Report

Sarawak Energy made a great presentation to the United Nations in Geneva last month, boasting about their plans to resettle the Penan, after forcing them from their homeland in Murum to make way for the latest controversial dam project.

It seemed they were going to be moved from a deprived existence (true, especially since Taib took their forest) and placed into a modern settlement with schools, clinics, training, lands, comfortable accommodation and a great compensation package!

As SEB’s statement to the UN put it: (more…)

November 12, 2013

Penans vow to continue blockade until govt agrees to talks

Penan longhouse residents during an earlier protest against Murum dam last month.Chen Shaua Fui

  • Penan longhouse residents during an earlier protest against Murum dam last month.

The arrest of 10 Penans last week at the blockade site near Murum Dam has not deterred them from continuing their fight to stop the inundation of their land before compensation is paid.

They went back to the site upon their release on Sunday.

The state coordinator of Borneo Resources Institute (Brimas) Raymond Abin said that the Penan will continue to stay at the blockade site until the government promises to talk to them on the compensation. (more…)

Torstein Should Apologise To Penan!

Torstein Should Apologise To Penan!

Sarawak Report

On November 7th, the Norwegian head of Sarawak Energy took great care to make his accusations against the Penan tribespeople at the Murum Dam blockade as public as possible, by insisting on broadcasting them in full on our site.

In an email to the Swiss NGO BMF, which he copied into our comments section, he claimed that these families had been extorting money from members of the public, by setting up a toll on the public road. (more…)

Left to fend for themselves

For empowerm ent: Participants listening to a talk during the workshop in Long Nen, organised by the Baram branch of Sarawak Penan Women Association.STEPHEN THEN

  • For empowerm ent: Participants listening to a talk during the workshop in Long Nen, organised by the Baram branch of Sarawak Penan Women Association.

It has been discovered that many young Penan women in the interior of Sarawak are being left to look after their children on their own without any moral and financial support from their husbands.

The Baram branch of Sarawak Penan Women’s Association said they had unearthed quite a number of cases where these young mothers were abandoned by their spouses for no apparent reason. (more…)

November 9, 2013

Two Penans visiting detained relatives arrested

Peter Sibon & Joanna Yap

Two more Penans have been arrested yesterday afternoon in relation to the Murum dam blockade.

They were arrested when they went to the Belaga police station to visit their relatives who were among the eight Penans arrested the day before, according to Sarawak Conservation Alliance of Natural Environment (SCANE) chairman Raymond Abin who has been keeping in touch with the protestors.

The two individuals have been identified as 16-year-old Philip Bujang and 21-year-old Merit Gadong. (more…)

Lawyer cries foul over remand of eight Penans, including 12-year-olds for “taking pictures”

Murum blockageDESMOND DAVIDSON

The eight Penans, whom police arrested at a blockade on the access road to the Murum hydroelectric dam in Ulu Belaga, Sarawak, Thursday afternoon, have been remanded for three days until Sunday.

Their lawyer, Abun Sui Anyit, said they were being held under Section 341 of the penal code.

Under the section, the arrested Penans, aged between 12 and 60 years old, would be in police custody until a magistrate could hear their case. (more…)

SUARAM condemns Penan Arrests

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 16.07.38Suram

  • PRESS STATEMENT – SUARAM Condemns Crackdown in Murum : Protesters, Including Children, Arrested and Detained

SUARAM condemns ongoing harassment of Penan communities in Murum and Baram. Yesterday (7 November 2013), saw another action from the Royal Malaysian Police which clearly shows the failed role of the police force. Eight Penan who have been blockading against the Murum damsince August were arrested yesterday and brought to the Belaga Police Station. (more…)

November 7, 2013

Murum Stand-Off Now “Critical”

Murum Stand-Off Now “Critical”

Sarawak Report

Sarawak Report has received news of a critical development in the Murum Dam blockade, which has now been maintained for several weeks by Penan tribespeople forced from their homes by rising waters

Around a hundred of the men, women and children have broken away from the original site, where they were being penned in by riot police, and have now moved to a new blockade site down on the main Murum highway. (more…)

November 2, 2013

Taib-linked firm bags RM600mil Sarawak Energy job

Mkini

As the Penan community continues its battle with state-owned company Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) over the Murum Dam, SEB has awarded two contracts worth more than RM600 million to a company linked to the son of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

According to a Aug 29 filing with Bursa Malaysia, Sarawak Cable Bhd said its subsidiary Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd (Trenergy) won two contracts, worth RM352.8 million and RM265.8 million each.

The contracts are for a 500kV electricity transmission line from Mapai to Lachau and the 500kV Lachau-Tondong transmission line, which will be completed within 23 and 26 months respectively from Nov 15. (more…)

October 24, 2013

Resettlement Chaos – Outrage Grows Over Murum Natives

Sarawak Report

  • Welcoming site? – why the surprise impoundment of the dam before compensation was agreed or even these homes were built?

It has emerged that many of the families forced from their longhouses at Murum have found there is no replacement housing for them after all, in the half-built resettlement areas they have been bundled into by Sarawak Energy.

Visitors last week spoke to families in Tegulang, all of whom had been given supposed vouchers for a home in the new longhouses, but who found there was not enough room.

Such families are being forced to beg space off relatives, with as many as three families now crowding into the same pintu. (more…)

October 20, 2013

Voices From Murum

Sarawak Report

Facing the armed police at Murum

Sarawak Energy’s Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit and his bosses in the Sarawak State Government have alleged that the anti-Murum Dam blockaders are being incited by NGOs and have painted a picture of trouble-making locals.

In fact, there has been very little genuine news or information from the distant and isolated dam site, which has been steadily flooding over the past month.

Now a new video has been recorded by travellers to the region, which paints a picture of desperate determination in a tiny community set on making their mark for justice. (more…)

October 17, 2013

Norway’s Ethical Stance Shames Its Citizens In Sarawak

Sarawak Report

Logging disaster – Norway blacklists the culprits WTK

Once again Norway’s massive public pension fund has reviewed its investments in Sarawak and blacklisted two more unethical companies, both closely linked to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.

Having vetoed Samling Global because of its destructive and illegal practices back in 2010, the so-called ‘Oil Fund’, which is the world’s largest institutional investor, has now produced detailed reports outlining why it has decided to also reject Ta Ann Holding Bhd, and WTK Holdings Bhd.

Ta Ann is controlled by Taib’s close cousin and effective nominee, Hamed Sepawi, whereas WTK is a well-known crony company that has been convincingly identified as being responsible for the shocking 30 mile log jam along the Rajang River in 2010. (more…)

October 15, 2013

Ethno-capitalists and police action: a criminal record

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 10:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Pak Bui

Now that the 13th general election is safely out of the way, the ruling BN coalition has evidently discarded most of its concerns about public opinion.

The police have been set loose to remove any obstacles to the profiteering of crony companies. Companies linked to BN’s warlords have used the police as proxies to inflict violence, harrassment and forced evictions on Malaysians of all races.

We have seen the police using live ammunition at the Penan blockade at the shameful Murum Dam in Sarawak,  We have witnessed them brutalising and stepping on impoverished residents, disregarding their Temporary Occupying Licences, at Kampung Hakka in Negeri Sembilan.  (more…)

October 7, 2013

Spotlight On Murum……

Sarawak Report

At the weekend Taib Mahmud bemoaned that the recent ‘spotlight of publicity’ on Sarawak has created negative perceptions of his government of the state.

So, clearly he wants no further light shone on the disgraceful treatment of the Penan at the Murum Dam site.

The tribe are still holding out in protest against his authoritarian command to start filling the dam before compensation has been agreed or even the government’s own promises fulfilled.

However, one team of observers has just made the tortuous 9 hour journey to see the beleaguered community, who are maintaining their blockade at the site, despite a heavy and menacing armed police presence and the arrest of one of their leaders last week. (more…)

Police to arrest 40 more Penans

Dukau Papau

The government has dispatched more police personnel including 43 members of the Public Order Riot Unit (PORU) to the Murum dam site in Belaga in an effort to arrest 40 Penans said to be involved in putting up blockades to protect against the impoundment of the dam.

Last Wednesday, their leader Ngang Buling, was arrested and detained, but was released on Friday on police bail.

He is to be charged under Section 448 of the Penal Code for trespassing and is expected to appear in court on Nov 4, 2013. (more…)

October 4, 2013

‘Lives threatened, long-house torched, villages drowned’

Aidila Razak

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…)

October 3, 2013

Murum Dam blockade: Penan protestor arrested

FMT Staff

A tense situation prevailed at the Murum Dam blockade when 30 police officers confronted 300 Penan protestors who offered themselves for arrest.

MURUM: Police moving in to stop the ongoing blockade by Penans on the road to the Murum Dam construction site arrested a protestor and fired a shot in the air to “stop” the people.

Ngang Buling, a Penan from the Murum region, was arrested this morning for reasons as yet unknown. Police are holding him at the Belaga station for questioning.

Quoting Ngang Buling, Save Rivers Network, a coalition of NGOs said the police are likely to hold him for four days. (more…)

October 2, 2013

‘Dam workers’ lives threatened by protesters’

Mkini

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…)

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