Friday, November 8, 2013

Stop all works on Sarawak dams, urge groups

10:34AM Nov 8, 2013 
A group of 80 NGOs and social activists are urging that all works related to the Baram and Murum dams in Sarawak cease immediately until ‘open and fair’ consultations have taken place with the local community.

In particular, they want the Sarawak state government-related corporations, contractors and agents to stop the impoundment at Murum Dam and arson of nearby Penan communities.

NONEMeanwhile at Baram Dam, the groups demanded that the work related to the survey and construction of the planned dam stop.

“(The government and its contractors should) enter into open and fair consultation with (the affected communities) without intimidation, force, corruption and manipulation to divide and split the community,” said the group Damn the Dams in a press statement yesterday.

It also demanded that the police end roadblocks to allow food, water, medical assistance, social workers and reporters to freely enter Murum, and protect the safety of the Orang Asal in Murum and Baram.

The statement was endorsed by groups and individuals such as Parti Sosialis Malaysia, Aliran, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia, Suaram, Women’s Aid Organisation, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Rights Committee, Himpunan Hijau, and Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies chairperson Ramon Navaratnam, among others.

NONEThe Penan community in Murum had set up a blockade since Sept 23 in order to stop the Murum dam impoundment, claiming that the Sarawak government had not met its demands for fair compensation for their native customary land (NCR), which would be flooded by the dam.

A month later, the Orang Ulu community in Baram set up their ownblockades preventing access roads to the dam to be built and surveyors from completing their work. They, too, are demanding fair compensation.

Damn the Dams also pointed out that the Orang Asal are dependent on their land for survival, and Sarawak’s string of dam projects, among others, are causing “irreversible harm” to the native communities.

azlan“The eviction of the Orang Asal from their lands has proven to be a cultural genocide,” the group said, citing the eviction of Orang Asal peoples to Sungai Asap to make way for Bakun Dam for an example.

The group said the natives found their new home to be unsuitable for cultivation of hill rice and other crops, while other amenities such as schools and clinics are inadequate. These left the community destitute.

“While the forced relocation is not unlike the setting up of ‘New Villages’ during the Emergency from 1948 to 1960 in Malaya, the living conditions have been comparable to those of refugee camps,” the group said.

~ Malaysiakini

1 comment:

Winston said...

The crazy old fart will convert Sarawak into one big dam.
And destroy the state irrevocably!