Saturday, 27 October 2012

Murum Penans blockade pictures



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Secret Malaysian resettlement plan for dam-affected natives exposed

BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL, SWITZERLAND
2nd October 2012 – For immediate release


Leaked Resettlement Action Plan for natives to be displaced by Murum dam reveals the Sarawak government’s neglect of basic rights and fair compensation
(MURUM, SARAWAK, MALAYSIA) A report by the Malaysian state government of Sarawak about the resettlement of over 1,500 natives has been leaked just a few months before the planned resettlement due to a mega-dam. The impoundment of the 944 MW Murum dam is meant to start in early 2013 and will flood almost 250km2 of forest and cause the displacement of six Penan and one Kenyah native communities.

Violation of basic rights
It verges on hypocrisy that the leaked Murum Resettlement Action Plan claims that “the main documents” concerning the construction of the dam and the resettlement are “to be made available to the public”, although this has obviously not been done so far. The affected communities have only received information about the conditions of their resettlement through the report leaked to ­the whistle-blower website Sarawak Report. The withholding of the Resettlement Report goes against all international standards on transparency.

The report reveals that the compensation offered to the affected communities is anything but fair and will impoverish them: the monthly allowance to be paid after resettlement falls below the poverty level and ends after four years. Their new farmland is already covered with oil palms owned by large companies, and there is hardly any forest left to sustain the people’s traditional livelihood based on products from the wild. In addition, the affected Penan and Kenyah state that they have never been asked for their free, prior and informed consent as demanded by international standards, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

After receiving the Resettlement Plan, the seven affected communities immediately put up a blockade on the access road to the dam on Wednesday last week. Over 200 people have since been effectively blocking the supply of materials to the dam construction works. They are willing to keep up the blockade until the Norwegian CEO of Sarawak Energy, the agency in charge of the implementation of Murum dam, and the government authorities agree to their demands concerning involuntary resettlement and compensation.

Norwegian Torstein Dale Sjøtveit, CEO of Sarawak Energy, has been asked to meet the affected communities at the blockade site to discuss their concerns, as he is one of the main persons responsible for the current twelve-dam complex in Sarawak – of which the Murum dam is only the first one to be built. Another foreign key supporter is Hydro Tasmania, which seconded staff to Sarawak Energy and completed various feasibility studies. Andrew Pattle, who was Project Manager for the Murum dam up until 2011 and is now Senior Project Manager for two other proposed dams, and Nick Wright, Vice President at Sarawak Energy, are just two of the Australian staff members seconded to the project. Without this knowledge transfer from Hydro Tasmania to Sarawak Energy, the realization of the planned dams would not be possible.

Tutoring on rights for government officials
The local SAVE Rivers Network, a group that is spearheading the struggle against the plans to build at least 12 dams in Sarawak’s interior, has today offered tutoring lessons on indigenous rights to high-level government leaders. The obvious lack of compliance with international standards and national laws by the Sarawak government is prompting them to teach the government about indigenous rights as guaranteed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and national law.

Peter Kallang, chairman of SAVE Rivers, said today: “It is unfortunate that many high-level government leaders do not understand the international UN declaration that Malaysia has signed. We would therefore like an opportunity to explain to them the rights of indigenous peoples under the laws of this country.”

The Bruno Manser Fund wholeheartedly supports this highly necessary tutoring on indigenous rights for the government and, in addition, is demanding the immediate release of all studies conducted on any of the currently-planned dams. All the international actors involved in Sarawak’s dam endeavour, including Torstein Dale Sjøtveit and Hydro Tasmania, should stop supporting the ongoing violation of international standards and cease their collaboration with Sarawak Energy.

– Ends –

Please consult us for further information:
Bruno Manser Fund, Socinstrasse 37, CH-4051 Basel / Switzerland
www.bmf.ch, www.stop-corruption-dams.org
Tel. +41 61 261 94 74. Follow us on twitter: @bmfonds
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bruno-Manser-Fonds/171047506268040

Penans want to present open memorandum on Murum HEP

Posted on October 3, 2012, Wednesday

MIRI: The Penans of Pelieran-Danum, Murum, Belaga District, Kapit division want to present an open memorandum to top government leaders on the Murum hydroelectric power (HEP) dam project.

A blockade was organised at the Murum HEP dam site last Wednesday to press for their rights.

The seven-page memorandum was prepared with the help of the Peleiran-Murum Penan Affairs Committee (Pemupa) chaired by Surang Alung.

Among others, it presented a list of Penan demands for compensation after a meeting of more than 300 villagers from Long Wat, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu, Long Malim, and Long Jaik in Long Jai, Murum on Sept 25.

They hoped to present the memorandum to the prime minister and chief minister to act on problems that cropped up after the project started in 2008.

Murum HEP involves the construction of a RM3 billion 944-MW hydroelectric dam and is the first of 12 mega dams to be built on the Murum River, a tributary of the Balui River about 60km upstream of the Bakun HEP dam in Belaga District, Kapit, which is scheduled for completion next year.

Source: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/10/03/penans-want-to-present-open-memorandum-on-murum-hep/#ixzz2AUOTq6Um

Monday, 22 October 2012

No Free Prior Informed Consent For Penan Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2 October 2012



MIRI: SAVE Rivers commends Land Development Minister James Masing on his admission that there is a “need for better communication between the implementers of the project and the people at the grassroots,” re: Penan blockade against the Murum dam, as reported in the Borneo Post on October 2nd, 2012.

However, it is with regret that Masing’s admission for better communication, comes much too late for the Penan and Kenyah communities are already affected by the Murum dam as the construction started in mid-2008. The target for the completion of the project is by the end of 2013.

Peter Kallang, Chairperson of SAVE Rivers, notes, “This is why we have been emphasizing on the need to abide by United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) that Malaysia has signed, whenever the government does any major project involving the rural communities. According to UNDRIP, the communities have the right to demand for free, prior, informed consent. This is necessary particularly on large-scale development projects that would affect their livelihoods and ancestral lands.”

“Free, prior and informed consent in particular, needs to be obtained from the communities before commencement of development projects. This was obviously not done for the Penan communities affected by the Murum dam, as admitted by James Masing,” Peter Kallang added.

Mark Bujang, Director of Borneo Resources Institute (BRIMAS), says, “It is an insult to the Penans to call them, “ignorant” as James Masing has done. Their recent actions [blockade] are in fact an indication that the Penan community in the Kapit division are well-aware of their rights according to the Malaysian Constitution, Land Code and UNDRIP. The Penans and Kenyah there do not want the dam.”

“According to the Resettlement Action Plan for these Penan communities, compensation is below poverty level in Sarawak, and state assistance is only for four years, therefore, is it a surprise that the Penans are very unhappy and are therefore, blockading?”, Mark Bujang added.

Raymond Abin of Sarawak Conservation Network reports from the ground that out of the eight Penan villages affected, only one village (Long Wat) has received some compensation for their lands, but the villagers had rejected the cheques because the amount was far below what was initially promised.

“I was informed by the Penans themselves that there has been a total lack of consultation, and lack of information from the government about their land seizure to build Murum dam. They are especially worried about plans to resettle them early next year as no houses have been built yet,” Raymond Abin said.

“One of their demands is to meet with the Chief Minister himself, and the CEO of Sarawak Energy Berhad, and for them to explain to the Penan communities what is going on,” Raymond Abin added.

SAVE Rivers is extending an invitation to James Masing and other high-level government leaders to explain the principles of UNDRIP.

Peter Kallang says, “It is unfortunate that many high-level government leaders do not understand the international UN declaration that Malaysia has signed, and is quick to accuse us of “instigating”. We therefore would like an opportunity to explain to them the rights of indigenous peoples under the laws of this country.”

END

Press Release by the Secretariat of SAVE Sarawak’s Rivers Network

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Penans want to present open memorandum on Murum HEP

Posted on October 3, 2012, Wednesday

MIRI: The Penans of Pelieran-Danum, Murum, Belaga District, Kapit division want to present an open memorandum to top government leaders on the Murum hydroelectric power (HEP) dam project.

A blockade was organised at the Murum HEP dam site last Wednesday to press for their rights.

The seven-page memorandum was prepared with the help of the Peleiran-Murum Penan Affairs Committee (Pemupa) chaired by Surang Alung.

Among others, it presented a list of Penan demands for compensation after a meeting of more than 300 villagers from Long Wat, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu, Long Malim, and Long Jaik in Long Jai, Murum on Sept 25.

They hoped to present the memorandum to the prime minister and chief minister to act on problems that cropped up after the project started in 2008.

Murum HEP involves the construction of a RM3 billion 944-MW hydroelectric dam and is the first of 12 mega dams to be built on the Murum River, a tributary of the Balui River about 60km upstream of the Bakun HEP dam in Belaga District, Kapit, which is scheduled for completion next year.

Ignorance leads to resentment

by Peter Sibon, reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on October 2, 2012, Tuesday

Masing says lack of understanding cause of Penans’ hostility towards Murum Dam, calls for more dialogue

KUCHING: The state government will explain in greater details to the Penan community affected by the construction of the Murum hydro-electric dam in Kapit Division so that they will understand the benefits of the project.

Land Development Minister Tan Sri James Masing stressed that there was a need for better communication between the implementers of the project and the people at the grassroots.

“I have made a recommendation to the steering committee to include Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage Liwan Lagang to be part of the team which oversees the implementation of the project.

“Liwan has vast experience working with the Penans in Murum even before he joined politics.

“My recommendation to the steering committee is that we need to have a better communication system so that any change that we make must be for the better,” Masing told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

Masing pointed out that the Penan in Murum were not against the project per se but they were unhappy with some of the things which were implemented without being properly informed.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/10/02/ignorance-leads-to-resentment/#ixzz2A0ZZWjgo

Penans protest against Murum HEP Dam project

27 September 2012

Miri, Sarawak: Hundreds of Penans staged a blockade against Murum hydroelectric (HEP) dam project yesterday (26th Sept) calling the government to listen to their plights with regard to the construction of the dam project. The Penans set up the blockade on the access road to the dam at Seping River Bridge, about 40km from the Murum HEP dam project site.

The Penans are from 8 villages, namely Long Wat, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu and Long Malim, which are located upstream, and Long Peran and Long Jaik in the downstream of the dam project site. The Murum HEP will inundate and require the forced relocation of about 1,500 Penans as well as the 18 Kenyah-Badeng families in Long Umpa village near Long Malim in Danum River, the upper course of Murum River.

At least 200 Penans are at the blockade site carrying placards and banners bearing slogan “We Want Justice”, We Demands Our Rights”, “Stop Murum Dam”, “Sarawak Energy (SEB) No Entry”, etc. Some of the Penans have to travel for more than 100km from the remote village of Long Malim to join the other Penans at the blockade site. There were also some women and children joined the blockade.

The Penans line up to stand across the road to block the entry of the Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and all the other companies involved in the construction of the Murum HEP dam. Some numbers of companies’ premix cement tankers, lorry trucks and trailers that transported building materials to the dam site had been totally stopped and parked at the road side.

On 25th September, about 300 representative of Penan villages in Murum area held a community meeting at Penan Long Jaik village. At the meeting, the Penans have come up with the Open Memorandum, detailing their issues, problems and demands to the Prime Minister YAB Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Sarawak Chief Minister YAB Pehin Seri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Surang Alung, Chairman of Pelieran-Murum Penan Affairs Committee (PEMUPA) stated that “the community are protesting against the negligence of the government to response to the demands as proposed by the Penans affected by Murum dam project”. He said the government has failed to consult them on all aspects pertaining to the development of the project. “We have to stand up and assert for our rights as our problems, issues and demands have been neglected for so long by the government”, he added.

The Murum hydroelectric dam project involves the construction of a 944 MW hydroelectric dam. It is the 1st of the 12 new more mega dams to be built by the State Government of Sarawak. The work on the dam has been going on since mid-2008. The dam site is on the Murum River, a tributary of Balui River, about 80 km upstream of the Bakun Hydroelectric project in Belaga District, Kapit Division of Sarawak.

The Murum dam is a 141-metre-high Roller-Compacted Concrete (RCC) dam that would be 547 metres above sea level, with a length of crest of 473 metres and crest width of 7 metres. Width of dam along riverbed is 75 metres. It will flood 24,500 hectares (245km2) of customary land and forest of the Penan villages. The dam catchment area is 275,000 hectares (2,750 km2) of mainly Usun Apau Plateau, the ancestral land of Indigenous communities in Sarawak.

The Sarawak Government is solely having vested interest in the project with the project proponent, theSarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) where 65 percent shares owned by the state government of Sarawak. The Murum dam project had been awarded to China’s Three Gorges Project Corporation. The estimated cost of the project is RM3 billion (875 million USD).

The progress of work on the major structures of the dam is about 70% completed. Its schedule of completion is by 2013.

Note: Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE) will keep you inform on the progress of the situation, news and any updates from the blockade site from time to time.

News Released by:
Raymond Abin
National Coordinator,
Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE)
Tel: 0138449345.

Misled! How Hydro-Tasmania Played Down Its “Essential” Role In SCORE! – EXCLUSIVE

27 Sep 2012

This post is also available in: Iban, Malay



Shaking hands on the agreement – David Crean, Chairman of Hydro-Tasmania seals the deal with Sarawak

Hydro-Tasmania’s tantrums over the recent Dateline Australia film ‘Last Fontier’ have been exposed as entirely misleading.

A report by Sarawak Energy Bhd has detailed how, contrary to denials, the dam-building company is engaged in a leading ‘co-development’ and ‘partnership’ role in the implementation of Taib’s devastating plans for the so-called Sarawak Corridor of Energy (SCORE).

These involve 12 highly controversial dams that will flood huge swathes of the Borneo Jungle and destroy the lives of tens of thousands of indigenous people along with their cultures.

Hydro-Tasmania’s key complaint has been that the programme “exaggerated” the company’s role in SCORE, when it claimed it was just acting as one of several consultants engaged by the commissioning body Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB).

The company’s angry protests soon had the broadcaster SBS in a panic and within hours their ‘ombudsman’ issued a grovelling apology, admitting that the programme had contained “inaccuracies and bias“:

GENOCIDE ! – Murum’s Secret “Resettlement Action Plan” Revealed – EXCLUSIVE EXPOSE

28 Sep 2012

This post is also available in: Iban, Malay



Sarawak Energy – keep off our lands! The desperation of the Penan people who have lost their hunting grounds and are starving

We can disclose that shocking revelations from a leaked report are what lie behind the massive road block at the Murum Dam site, where scores of lorries have been brought to a grinding halt by Penan tribes people.

The impoverished hunter-gatherers mounted the desperate protest in response to learning key details of the resettlement and compensation plans, drawn up by the Government for when their homes are soon flooded by rising waters.

The plans were disgracefully kept secret until they were leaked to Sarawak Report earlier this week.

The secrecy was in defiance of international protocols, which require full consultation and disclosure to affected peoples before construction even begins.

Murum itself was of course also kept secret during the first two years of the dam’s construction, during which time Taib ravaged the jungle and blew tunnels through a sacred mountain area without permission.

Natives block construction works on mega-dam in Malaysian rainforest

BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL, SWITZERLAND
28th September 2012 – for immediate release

200 natives are blocking the construction material supply for Murum mega-dam until Norwegian manager and Sarawakian authorities are ready to meet them and give in to their demands

(MURUM, SARAWAK, MALAYSIA) Early morning of 26th of September, 200 Penan and Kenyah women, men and children put up a blockade on the access road to the 944 MW Murum dam in the interior of Sarawak, located on the Malaysian part of Borneo island. They will only let the supply trucks pass their blockade, if the Norwegian CEO of Sarawak Energy, the agency in charge of the construction of the dam and electricity generation in Sarawak, and Sarawak’s authorities are willing to meet them at the blockade site and agree to their demands.

141m high Murum dam, under construction by China’s Three Gorges Corporation, affects at least 1,400 people from the ethnic groups of the Western Penan and the Kenyah and will start flooding almost 250km2 of rainforest and farmland once it is completed by early 2013. The natives have decided to install the blockade because the responsible government authorities and Sarawak Energy have never taken their demands seriously. With the construction work entering the final phase, they feel urged to act and pressure for their rights.

At a press conference today, they presented an open memorandum addressed to the implementing authorities to solve pending issues concerning their rights to land and forest and the involuntary resettlement. They have witnessed how the quality of life decreased for their neighbouring communities affected by Bakun dam, one of the biggest dams in Asia, when they were forcefully displaced in 1998. They do not want to face the same fate: loss of livelihood, poverty and loss of culture.

Two key figures in the construction of Murum dam are Norwegian Torstein Dale Sjotveit, who is CEO of Sarawak Energy, and Australian Andrew Pattle, seconded from Hydro Tasmania to Sarawak Energy to lead the construction works at Murum dam. Whereas Pattle has recently been in the news because he admitted that “safety and environmental standards are not given much importance in Sarawak”, Torstein Dale Sjotveit has been facing criticism as he is spearheading Sarawak’s plans to build at least 12 new dams in Sarawak’s interior until 2030 – Murum dam just being the first one.

As the responsible Sarawakian authorities refuse an open and transparent communication, the real impact of the project is difficult to estimate. What is clear is that Baram dam, the next dam on the list after Murum dam, will alone flood 400km2 and displace 20,000 natives. This indicates that hundreds of square kilometres and tens of thousand people will be affected if they implement the full-scale project.

Torstein Dale Sjotveit is currently facing strong rejection in Sarawak. He has not only already received lots of letters from angry communities asking him to immediately put the dam endeavour on halt, but also faces a corruption complaint in Malaysia. Natives accuse him of abusing his position as head of Sarawak Energy to favour companies linked to the family of Sarawak’s Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. Among other things, they criticize that Sarawak Energy granted a MYR 99 million (USD 31.8 mio.) power transmission line contract to Universal Cable, a company linked to Abu Bekir Taib, son of the Sarawak Chief Minister, without public tender. Universal Cable is a subsidiary of Sarawak Cable, of which Abu Bekir Taib holds 42% of the shares.

– Ends –

Please consult us for further information:
Bruno Manser Fund, Socinstrasse 37, CH-4051 Basel / Switzerland
www.bmf.ch, www.stop-corruption-dams.org
Tel. +41 61 261 94 74. Follow us on twitter: @bmfonds
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bruno-Manser-Fonds/171047506268040

Attachments:
Picture 1: Penan and Kenyah blocking the access road to the Murum dam site in Malaysia's rainforest
Picture 2: Natives blocking all construction material supplies for Murum dam
Picture 3: People affected by Murum dam protesting for their rights
Picture 4: Also women are participating and blocking the access road to the Murum dam
Picture 5: Cement supplies for Murum dam are blocked by angry natives
Picture 6: No truck is allowed to pass the blockade
Copyright of all pictures: Bruno Manser Fund, BMF




Penan and Kenyah blocking the access road to the Murum dam site in Malaysia's rainforest


Natives blocking all construction material supplies for Murum dam


People affected by Murum dam protesting for their rights


Also women are participating and blocking the access road to the Murum dam


Cement supplies for Murum dam are blocked by angry natives


No truck is allowed to pass the blockade

Forum on Native Customary Rights Land & Mega-Dams Development in Sarawak



More pictures here http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.509932622369094.138698.376175715744786&type=1

Baram residents delivered petition protesting the Baram mega-dam to the Chief Minister of Sarawak


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
18 September 2012


Kuching, Sept 18th 2012:  About 50 indigenous people from the Baram area delivered a petition of thousands of signatures to the Chief Minister of Sarawak today at Wisma Bapa Malaysia (State Secretariat building). The people were representing at least 18 longhouses from Upper and Middle Baram.

The petitions are in protest of the plans to build a mega-dam which would flood half the size of Singapore. Thousands of Baram residents would be forced to move away from their ancestral lands, homes and farms, to accommodate the mega-dam.

Affected resident, and President of JOAS (Jaringan Orang Asal seMalaysia or Indigenous Peoples’ Network of Malaysia), Thomas Jalong of Long Anap, Baram views with grave concern of the planned construction of mega-dam because of its potential adverse implications, particularly on the rights, livelihoods and future of the indigenous people of the area.

“The dam would inevitably submerge our ancestral homelands of more than 20,000 people and in the process would forcibly displace us from our homes. We would also be unjustly deprived of our lands, sources of livelihood and sustenance, facing an uncertain future,” Thomas Jalong said.

“To us indigenous peoples, our ancestral land is a link to our past, present and future generations. Land is not only regarded as an economic resource but is fundamental to our social, cultural, spiritual and political identity and survival,” Thomas added.

Peter Kallang, Chairperson of Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers), a coalition formed by indigenous peoples and NGOs to stop the 12 planned mega-dams in Sarawak says, “This clearly shows that the majority of the Baram people do not want the dam.”

“If you look at the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) that Malaysia has agreed to adopt, the plan for constructing the dams have to stop immediately and all works on the access roads to the dams including the soil studies has to be stopped,” Peter adds.

Philip Jau, of Baram Protection Action Committee says, “the government has not been transparent at all with actual plans of the Baram mega-dam. They have not asked the people what they think about the plans of the dam, but instead have commenced plans to start surveys for the access roads. We do want development and roads but we do not want an access road built specifically for the mega-dam. This is not what we want.”

“When we met with the Superintendent of the Lands and Survey Miri, he did not mention the building of the access road or the reason why the road is being built. This is an example of how they continue not to be transparent of their plans,” Philip Jau stressed.

Philip Jau hopes that the government would listen to the voices of the Baram residents and stop all building related to the Baram mega-dam, hence the handover of the petition today.

Prior to the handing of the petition, at least 150 people attended a forum organized by Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) on native customary lands, and mega-dams in Sarawak on Monday (Sept 17th) at Telang Usan Hotel. Speakers spoke on the rights of indigenous peoples, especially in relation to land, and the socio-economic impacts of the mega-dams. 

-         END –

PRESS STATEMENT BY SAVE RIVERS
For further information, contact Peter Kallang, 013 8331104 or Mark Bujang, 014 8776685.

Sending Petition to Chief Minister of Sarawak at Wisma Bapa Malaysia

Video link http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=510630922299264

Submission of Signature Petition by residents of Baram against Baram Dam to Chief Minister of Sarawak

Pictures of the event http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=510625842299772

More pictures here http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.509948935700796.138702.376175715744786&type=1

Orang Asal Baram: Jangan tenggelamkan rumah kami

10:37AM Sep 19 2012
Malaysiakini.com

Sekumpulan kira-kira 50 Orang Asal dari Baram mengadakan protes di hadapan bangunan sekretariat negeri Sarawak di Kuching semalam, membantah projek mega empangan yang akan menenggelamkan rumah panjang mereka.

NONEMereka daripada 18 rumah panjang di Baram Hulu dan Tengah juga menyerahkan petisyen yang mengandungi lebih 1,000 tandatangan kepada Pejabat Ketua Menteri Sarawak.

Petisyen itu menyuarakan tentangan mereka terhadap rancangan membina empangan mega di Baram yang akan membanjiri kawasan tersebut seluas separuh saiz Singapura, serta menenggelamkan tanah nenek moyang mereka, rumah dan ladang-ladang di situ.

Dalam satu kenyataan semalam, Preiden Jaringan Orang Asal seMalaysia (Joas), Thomas Jalong, yang berasal dari Long Anap, Baram, berkata empangan itu akan menjejaskan kehidupan penduduk asal tempatan.

baram sarawak"Empangan akan pasti menenggelamkan tanah nenek moyang
dengan lebih 20,000 penduduk dan dalam proses itu, ia akan mengakibatkan kami kehilangan rumah kita," katanya.

Dengan itu, katanya, mereka secara tidak adil akan kehilangan tanah mereka, sumber mata pencarian dan rezeki, dan menghadapi masa depan yang tidak menentu,

Menurutnya, tanah itu bukan semata-mata sahaja menjadi sumber ekonomi bagi komuniti Orang Asal tetapi penting kepada identiti sosial, kebudayaan, kerohanian dan politik mereka.

12 empangan mega dirancang

Sementara itu, Rangkaian Selamatkan Sungai Sarawak (Save Rivers), sebuah gabungan yang dibentuk untuk menentang pembinaan 12 empangan mega yang dirancang bagi Sarawak, berkata bantahan itu diadakan untuk mendesak kerajaan mematuhi Deklarasi Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu mengenai Hak Orang Asal.

NONEPresidennya, Peter Kallang berkata kerajaan negeri Sarawak 
perlu menghentikan semua kerja di atas jalan akses ke empangan kerana ia sudah pun menjejaskan masyarakat Orang Asal.

Malah, wakil Jawatankuasa Bertindak Lindungi Baram, Philip Jau berkata perancangan untuk pembinaan empangan Baram tidak pernah telus.

"Mereka tidak bertanya rakyat pandangan mereka mengenai rancangan membina empangan tetapi sebaliknya telah memulakan kerja mengukur jalan masuk ke projek itu," kata Philip.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Business Brawn Over Business Brain – Bully-Boy Tactics In Tasmania


8 Sep 2012

This post is also available in: Iban, Malay

A recent Dateline Australia programme, Last Frontier, addressed some issues of indisputable public interest and concern in both Tasmania and Sarawak.

It examined policies in those countries that will affect the lives of tens of thousands of people and destroy some of the world’s remaining forest ecosystems.

In short Dateline investigated the plans to flood central Sarawak with no less than 12 highly controversial dams that will destroy the rainforest and displace countless indigenous communities.

Smelting plants ‘galore’ in Sarawak

Joseph Tawie | September 13, 2012

Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's Sarawak is set to host the most number of smelting plants in the country.

KUCHING: The state government under Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud is turning Sarawak into a ‘smelting pot’ with the influx of smelting plants like manganese and ferrosilicon, polycrystalline silicon, and manganese ferro alloy into Bintulu.

Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen claims that projects were “not beneficial” to the locals and in fact were detrimental to the people and environment.

“It will not benefit the common Sarawakians, such plants have devastating effects on the health of the people and on the environment.

“We have heard about Press Metal (in Mukah) causing strange illnesses to the people and the surrounding areas,” he said.

Chong who is the MP for Bandar Kuching and Kota Sentosa assemblyman was commenting on a statement made by Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Minister of Industrial Development on foreign direct investments to Sarawak.

On Tuesday Awang Tengah said that Sarawak recorded in the first nine months of this year foreign investments totalling RM8.5 billion involving 38 projects.

He said that 21 of the projects managed to attract some RM6 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI), while the rest (17) involving RM33 million in capital investments had been approved by the Industrial Coordinating committee.

Awang Tengah said that based on ‘Malaysia Investment Performance 2011’ by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Sarawak managed to attract the highest new capital investment in 2011 of RM8.17 billion, while Penang only managed RM4.48 billion and Selangor RM4.38 billion.

FDIs from smelting plants

Reacting to Awang Tengah’s statement, Chong said that the state minister was boasting that the state had the highest FDI for the year 2011.

“I just like to highlight one or two features of Sarawak FDI. Firstly, the FDI comes mainly from smelting industries such as the following:

“OM holdings & CMSB joint venture which is dealing with the setting up of manganese and ferrosilicon smelting plant with an investment of RM1.86 billion.

“Next is Tokuyama which is setting up a polycrystalline silicon smelting plant at a cost of RM3 billion.

“Asia Mineral is setting up a manganese ferro alloy smelting plant costing RM790 million.

“Another one is the Aluminium Corp of China JV with Gulf International Investment Group Holding Sdn Bhd called Smelter Asia to jointly develop a RM4.95 billion aluminium smelter plant with an annual capacity of 370,000 tonne in Samalaju,” he said.

He said the whole FDI that the Sarawak government was boasting about was building smelting plants which carry with it a very devastating impact on environment.

He said that the direct effect of this influx of smelting plants into the State was that the government was turning Sarawak into a ‘smelting pot’ with devastating effects on environment.

“The other impact is that we will sell cheap electricity to these industries in order to attract them to come to Sarawak, but at the end of the day the consumers will pay for it.

“Sarawakians will pay for this expensive electricity to finance cost-subsidy of cheap electricity to these industries, ” Chong said.

Economic boom temporary

He also said there were other points of concern such as the direct impact of these industries on the local economy and the ecology.

“These industries may provide an economic boom during the construction period, but such an industry will not have a direct impact to the state after the completion of the construction, because we are only exporting the products.

“It (export) boosts the (trade) figures, but it will not benefit the people directly,” he said.

“Thirdly, the industries will have the environmental impact on the state. My question is were there and environmental impact studies done before the approval of the industry?” he asked.

Chong said the it is unlikely that the more than RM8 billion FDI will benefit locals, citing the LNG 1,2,3, lants in Bintulu.

“I think there is nothing great to shout about the FDI. With all these industries, and at the end of the day, they do not really benefit the common Sarawakians.

“Take for example the LNG 1, 2 and 3 plants in Bintulu. During the construction of these plants, the people enjoyed the sudden economic boom, but when the construction was over, Bintulu is back to normal so much so that TV3 announcer said that Bintulu is a backward town.

“It is not economically developed,” Chong added.

Taib’s family to benefit most

However, the DAP leader was quick to say that the industries that would benefit would be Naim Holdings Bhd, Chahya Mata Bhd (CMS) and Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) which have formed a joint venture company to develop the proposed Samalaju new township.

The project which is estimated to cost RM1.5 billion has been alienated an area of 2,200 hectares where 5,000 residential houses, schools, clinics, commercial centres and recreational facilities will be built in Samalaju.

In the JV Company, Naim has about 60% while CMS and BDA hold 30% and 10% respectively.

Naim is owned by Hamed Sepawi, a cousin of the Chief Minister while CMS is owned by Taib’s family members.

“I think all the benefits will only go to these two companies, and they will not filter to the people,” he said, pointing out that the whole thing is good only for statistics.

Taib's Web of Corruption