Articles from last year

31 August 2011

Baram Dam: Lying govt and big companies

Joseph Tawie

Local village headmen are being told that the government has shelved the construction of the Baram Dam.
The deceitful and insidious manner by which the state government is going about with the construction of the Baram Dam has angered the Orang Ulu communities in the dam project vicinity.

Orang Ulu National Association Miri (OUNA) chairman Pete Kallang said: “As one of those affected I just can’t understand this injustice and this outrageous and abusive exploitation.

“Why, it could be seen as an act in complete disregard for our well-being and opinion.

“This could be proven by the priority given to the preparatory construction activities done even before the proper Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are completed or perhaps not even started and made accessible to affected and interested parties.

“In doing this, it seems the construction of the dam is to be implemented whatever the findings or recommendations that would eventually be available if and when the EIA or SIA is done,” he said.


9 September 2011

14 year land rights battle around the Bakun Dam lost, but not all is lost!

 Two historic cases concening land rights in the Baram Dam area were lost last week, but the judge’s comments provide hope for the future. (For background on the case, see the article below.)

As council for the plaintiffs, Baru Bian, put in a statement about the cases, 

“I was very hopeful to have a historic judgment but that did not materialized. Nevertheless, notwithstanding the said decision there is still a bright light at the end of the tunnel especially in the obiter or the observation made by the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum who said that section 5 of the Land Code, Sarawak, appears to give a very wide power to the relevant Minister to extinguish all customary land rights just by a stroke of a pen. He also commented that compensation for the loss of native customary rights should not be merely a monetary form but should include other factors as well. Of a concern to us who are natives is this; that any extinguishment of NCR land in Sarawak must be consistent with international requirements; for example those that are stated under the United Nation Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which requires a “free, prior, informed, consent” approach before their NCR is extinguished.”

Baru Bian Statement on Bato Bagi case

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (friends of the Earth Malaysia) & the Consumers’ Association of Penang said in a statement that:

“SAM and CAP feel that it is important to have a limitation on the purposes for which native customary rights may be extinguished. Of primary importance is that the proposed purpose should be beneficial to the natives. Equally important is also the need that before any land is taken for such purpose, natives must be consulted and properly informed of the consequences of such development and sufficiently and reasonably compensated for the loss to their communities and future generations.”

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