Some 1,500 Penan families who have moved to Metalun and Tegulang after being affected by the Murum hydroelectric dam have lodged a police report against the Sarawak state government and its agency Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB), accusing them of failing to fulfill their promise of giving them RM850 per family per month.
Four persons, namely Tua Kampung Madai Salo, representing Penan families from Long Luar; Ramlie Bujang, representing Penan families from Long Tangau; Ngang Buling of Long Singu; and Liew Bueh of Long Menapa; lodged a report today at the Belaga police station.
In their police report, they claimed that they were supposed to be paid RM850 per month per family as an incentive for them to move out of their original longhouses to new resettlements such as Metalun and Tegulang.
But since January this year, each family is being paid RM250 in cash and an estimated RM600 worth of foodstuff.
“Sometimes, the value of the food bought for us did not come to RM600. For example, they gave us a 10-kilo bag of rice and 5kg of chicken wings, and other times, the value of the food is much less,” said Tua Kampung Madai.
He said, “We have to lodge a police report because we feel that we are being cheated, and want the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption commission (MACC) to investigate.
“We insist that the government and SEB keep their promise and give us cash of RM850. We don’t want them to buy food items for us.
“We know what we want to buy for our needs. Just give us cash as promised,” he stressed, expressing unhappiness over this failure of the government to keep its promise.
The Penans were forced to move out after the impoundment of the dam which began last September, even though several of their demands had yet to be settled.
Among them were RM500,000 per family for the loss of their ancestral lands and longhouses, and 23 acres of forest for each family as well as royalty from the sale of electricity from the dam.
The 944MW Murum dam is to supplement the Bakun dam, also in the Belaga district, to supply electricity to industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
The RM4 billion Murum is the third dam to be built after the Batang Ai and Bakun dams. The state government will next build the Baleh dam in Kapit, together with the controversial Baram dam.
The state government has plans to build at least 10 more mega dams in the state.