Friday, July 31, 2015

Adenan puts Baram dam on hold, agrees to listen to natives’ grouses


Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has put the construction of the mammoth hydroelectric dam in Baram on hold. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 31, 2015.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has put the construction of the mammoth hydroelectric dam in Baram on hold. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 31, 2015.
Ethnic tribespeople in Baram who are against the construction of a mammoth RM4 billion hydroelectric dam were celebrating a “small victory” yesterday in their campaign to stop the dam.
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had put on hold his decision on the dam to listen to their grouses first.
At the small dusty riverine town of Long Lama, some 100km from Miri where he had gone for the ceremony to drive the first pile for a bridge across the Baram River there, Adenan told the 500 or so opponents of the dam that for the talks to be conducted in a cordial environment, they must show some good faith first like lifting their blockade of the proposed dam site.
Adenan said he would show his by instructing the state power company, the Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), to stop all work in the area until the final decision is made.
The tribespeople who believed they could be displaced by the dam had since 2013 erected make-shift log barricades across two roads that lead to the proposed site.
One was a few kilometres from Long Lama while the other was further into the interior near the Kayan settlement of Long Kesseh.
The dam if built could submerge 400 sq km of their rainforest and displace 20,000 tribespeople.
Adenan, who arrived in Long Lama by helicopter, was greeted by tribes people clad in turquoise T-shirts with the words “Stop the dam” emblazoned on them.
They had lined the road from the secondary school where the chief minister landed to the stage by the river holding banners with the words “Welcome the honourable CM of Sarawak. Please hear the plea of the people of Baram. No Baram dam”.
Those who had come from longhouses and settlements deep in Baram had put up the night at the Long Lama barricade site.
After the ceremony, they all piled into the steel-hulled express boats for the long trip home.
The chairman of the non-governmental organisation Save Sarawak Rivers who is spearheading the campaign against the dam, Peter Kallang, told The Malaysian Insider that Adenan had placed a moratorium on the dam to first listen to the people's views on the dam that was designed to generate 1,300 megawatts of electricity.
Kallang said he will weigh Adenan's offer seriously but he must first consult the tribespeople.
“I need to talk to them for their opinion and feedback. Then the next important thing I have to do is draw up our alternative proposal for the government to consider.
“We have actually proposed some alternatives but we need to show they are viable and could be implemented.”
Kallang, together with renewable energy researchers from the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) of the University of California in Berkeley and PKR Sarawak vice-chairman See Chee How, had an informal meeting with Adenan at his Santubong home at the end of last month to discuss alternatives to the mammoth dam.
See then said he believed there is now a “serious rethinking” of the policy to build large dams after Adenan had requested for the RAEL's case studies of the the state's proposed dam projects.
Last May, Adenan announced in Miri that the Baram dam would proceed after he met with community leaders, the majority of whom, he added, supported the dam.
He was widely criticised by opponents of the dam that the community leaders he had met were “not people who would be affected by the dam" nor were they leaders representing the affected people. – July 31, 2015.
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Winston Yap said...

Mr Baru Bian, don't hold your breath.
Just remember the wise old saying, "Birds of a feather flock together!".

Winston Yap said...

They are on shaky ground now.
That's why they promise the sky!
Believe them at your own risk!!!