Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu anak Numpang has been accused of deliberately lying to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak with his claim that only three persons, one each from Long Ekang, Long Lama and Long Laput, objected to the implementation of the Baram Dam.
The inaccuracy of Jabu’s (right) statement is proven by the thousands who, over these few years, have taken part in signature campaigns, public demonstrations and letters to the prime minister and the deputy prime minister, the Youth wing of Save Rivers Network Sarawak said today.
“In addition, there were protest meetings and rallies held at various places in Baram, other parts of Sarawak, in Peninsular Malaysia and right before the Malaysian Parliament,” Save Rivers Youth wing’s acting chairperson Henry Sigau said.
“It is obvious that Jabu deliberately lied to the prime mnister,” Henry said in refuting the statement Jabu made to Najib duing the Gawai Dayak celebration at Long Silat in Upper Baram last Monday (June 2).
The Save Rivers Youth wing met in Miri on Sunday to start another signature campaign, which will also be posted on a banner with its statement and all the signatures. The next step after this is to launch the campaign outside Miri.
“The Baram communities refute the validity of the statement made by Jabu at Long Silat, where he said that all the affected people of Baram support the proposed Baram Dam except for three persons, one each from Long Ekang, Long Lama and Long Laput.
“The youth of Baram urge that the Baram Dam be cancelled,” Henry said, adding that the Baram communities want the government to honour the rights of the people over their native customary rights land, the languages of the indigenous peoples and their general heritage and to abide by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
A few Orang Ulu leaders 'disgraceful'
Slamming some of the Orang Ulu community leaders, he added: “The communities in Baram are saddened by the disgraceful attitude of a few Orang Ulu leaders (the temenggong, penghulu and ketua kampung) for failing to unite the people to protect, preserve and promote our common heritage.”
Instead they accepted the proposed Baram Dam without meaningful and sufficient information or in defiance of recognised international standards.
It was therefore, Henry said, even more deplorable of these leaders in using the mass media to accuse and blame their own people for their sacrifices to protect and promote the rights of their communities.
“These leaders made various erroneous claims about those individuals, with some of the claims being slanderous as they were made with ill intentions.”
He said the Baram communities would therefore like to reaffirm their stand that they want development that is people-centred, suiting their needs and interests, not mega dams. They want to keep their right to determine their own way of life.
“The people of Baram would like to urge the authorities concerned to stop all provocations, propaganda and incitements that are carried out primarily to ensure the success of the Baram Dam, even by employing deceitful lies,” Henry added.