Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Baram Dam may restart after state polls, claims NGO

Yap Jia Hee     Published

The Sarawak government may restart the Baram Dam project after the conclusion of the Sarawak election, Save Rivers chairperson Peter Kallang said.

Although the gazette for the project was repealed, he said it could be an election gimmick by Sarawak government for the coming state election.

Baram villagers yesterday rejoiced when they learned that the Sarawak government has revoked the gazette extinguishing their customary rights to land earmarked for the dam and its reservoir.

Their lawyer, Harrison Ngau, received a notification on the repeal from the state legal office, in a letter dated March 15.

Peter urged the Sarawak government to make an official announcement that the Baram Dam project will be stopped permanently.

"It could be used as an election gimmick. I cannot predict but they (Sarawak government) have the power to re-gazette.

"We think that the revocation is not final.

"What we want is for the Sarawak government to announce openly that the Baram Dam is stopped," said Peter when contacted by Malaysiakini.

He said the protest will continue, including mounting blockades, if the goverment makes an about-turn after the state election.

"If they restart it, we will protest and put up the blockades. I will meet with the Baram villagers to discuss the next step," said Peter.

Nevertheless, he said that it was a positive move by the Sarawak government to revoke the gazette.

He said that Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan had announced a moratorium on Baram Dam works last July before the gazette was revoked.

"We know that he also stopped all logging activities in the vicinity of the dam site, but such activities are still going on," he added.

~ Malaysiakini

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