The Baram natives of Kampung Kesseh who have been mounting blockades at KM15 Kampung Kesseh Road have claimed ‘victory’ against a logging company which was contracted to log timber at the site of the proposed Baram dam.
In a statement to Malaysiakini last night, chairperson of Baram People Protect Committee (BPPC) Philip Jau said that the MM Golden Company had removed all their machinery from the dam site.
The villagers agreed to open the blockade after MM Golden Company sent a forest officer and a police corporal to meet with the villagers to allow them to withdraw all the machinery.
Earlier in the day, forest personnel dismantled the barricade twice at 10am and at noon (for the 10th and 11th time) only to be erected again by ‘some brave men and women’, said Jau.
By afternoon, the forest officers and police personnel left their ‘pondok’.
“We don’t know what will be their next move, but we are keeping our vigilance,” said Jau (left).
Praising the police for their ‘neutrality’, Jau told the forest personnel to wait for the court decision over the case which is still pending in the court.
The court is expected to hear the case from March 16 to 27, 2015.
“By then, if any party is not happy with the court decision, they can appeal,” he said.
Jau also called on the government not only to respect and recognise their rights.
The villagers who are strongly against the construction of the Baram dam had been erecting the blockade throughout the year to stop the felling of trees in the proposed Baram dam as they claimed that the area is part of the native customary right (NCR) land.
The site needs to be cleared of trees before the dam could be constructed.
The dam which will be one of biggest of the 12 dams proposed for construction between now and 2030 will drown some 30,000 hectares of forests and the ancestral lands of the Orang Ulu community.
About 20,000 of the natives from 26 longhouses will need to be relocated once the dam is completed.