Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Natives in squalid camps, protesting Baram dam

As Murum natives continue to fight the ongoing impoundment of the hydroelectric dam there, natives in Baram are protesting the construction of another dam in their area.

NONEAccording to Miri MP Dr Michael Teo (right), to date, at least 350 natives have camped out in two locations in Baram for 40 nights to protest the proposed dam.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, he said the camps are in "sordid" condition but the natives refuse to budge for fear of the "poor treatment" of the natives of Bakun and Murum will happen to them.

"The vast majority of the 45,000 natives comprising Kenyah, Kayan, Penan and Punan people in 27 villages affected by the proposed Baram Dam have expressed their strong objections to the dam," he said.

Dams serve to enrich companies
Teo argued that the various dams do not benefit the locals, who still lack basic amenities, but serve to enrich companies which supply input for construction.

They include the supply of cables by a subsidiary of Sarawak Cable Bhd, a company chaired by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud's son Mahmud Abu Bekir.

"I urge the Malaysian government to stop this embarrassment of a CM deeply involved in scandals...and dishonest dealings," he charged.

Teo added that the dam, which is being built "without consultation", is not the natives' only problem.

He said that the bulk of the natives do not have identity cards and are appealing for better roads and more clinics in the area.

Sarawak Energy Bhd--the government-linked company overseeing the construction of the Murum dam -- has stressed that Sarawak Cable Bhd subsidiary Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd had won the RM600 million Murum dam job through open tender.

It also stressed that the Murum relocation programme is among the best in the world and natives who are demanding compensation for their land are just being misled by "outsiders".

SEB plans to build 12 dams and aims to complete half of them by 2020.

This is part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy development where the energy generated is meant to feed industrial parks.

However, presently, about 30 percent of Sabah and Sarawak do not have electricity supply.

~ Malaysiakini

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