SAVE Rivers: What happened to previous promise that Murum dam would be the model project to amend for past mistakes?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MIRI: SAVE Rivers welcomes the first notification of the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) Report for the proposed Metalun Resettlement and Tegulang Resettlement sites as well as the Murum Service Centre for the Penans affected by the Murum dam, released on 11th October, 2012 by the State Planning Unit (SPU).
However, the question on why the SEIA report has only just been released when about 75% of the Murum dam has been completed, begs to be asked.
Peter Kallang, Chairperson of SAVE Rivers, further adds, "We have heard that earthwork for the two proposed resettlement sites has already begun. Therefore, does it make sense to ask for public comments on the SEIA report now? This sounds like a last-minute public relations exercise to me, and not a genuine effort to get proper feedback from the public."
SAVE Rivers notes a statement made in March 2010, by the State Planning Unit principal assistant director (environment and natural resources) Andrew Tukau that claimed, " the state government will conduct social and environmental impact assessment studies (SEIA) on all future hydroelectric dam projects in Sarawak, starting with the Murum Dam," (see: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/3/31/nation/5963137&sec=nation).
"Despite the promises made by the SPU about two and half years ago, we are still waiting for the SEIA report for the construction of the Murum dam itself," Peter emphasized.
"We were told that Murum dam would be the model to amend for the mistakes previously made in Bakun mega-dam, and other dams in Sarawak. Sadly, it appears that the government is making the same mistakes all over again, and the Penan communities of Murum are now paying the price," Peter added.
In the March 2010 statement made to Star, Andrew Tukau had said that there would be "no involuntary resettlement as was done in previous dam projects" and that the resettlement action plan would have a new monitoring, evaluation and reporting mechanism.
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Press Statement issued by:
Secretary, SAVE Rivers