Members of the Penan community in Sarawak are to resume a blockade at the site of the controversial Murum dam because many have yet to receive the promised compensation prior to the eviction notice being issued.

NONEAbout 100 of the Penan affected by the project are to begin the blockade today, to prevent construction vehicles from entering the dam site.  

Last September, members of the community had mounted a three-month longblockade close to the construction site.

The blockade ended when Sarawak Energy, which holds a monopoly over power supply in the state, met with the group’s representatives and promised that compensation would be paid to the families that are forced to relocate.

azlanPeter Kallang, of the Save Rivers movement, toldMalaysiakini that the families have refused to move out until their original compensation demands are met.

“Sarawak Energy and (Belaga state assemblyperson) Liwan Lagang met with us last time and told us that proper compensation would be paid to the community.
“So far, only a few of the families have been paid, around RM5,000 for the desecration of graves,” Kallang said.

“Now, Sarawak Energy is asking them to move to the new settlement area, but they are refusing to move until the compensation demand is fulfilled.”

Among the compensation demands are for each of the 300 families affected to be paid RM500,000 and given 25ha of new land per family.

The Murum dam project will force some 1,500 Penan to relocate.

NONE“They are trying to attract the families to the relocation area with new concrete houses, but a lot of demands haven’t been met so they won’t go,” Kallang (left) said.     

The Murum dam is one of 11 across that state that Sarawak Energy plans to complete by 2020.

Swiss-based environment NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has estimated that construction of all 11 dams will lead to the floodingof 2,300 square kilometres of land across the state.

It has also said that the flooding will affect 235 indigenous settlements and affect between 30,000 and 50,000 people.

~ Malaysiakini