SAVE Rivers

SAVE Rivers

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Collective Murum mission

Published: Sunday October 6, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday October 6, 2013 MYT 2:34:40 PM

MIRI: It is a race against time to rescue dozens of endangered animals in the Murum Valley threatened by rising waters from the impoundment of the Murum hydroelectric dam that began about two weeks ago.

The water behind the main dam wall is rising fast. Trees and bushes that sheltered these endangered animals are fast being submerged.

The Star yesterday received a call from an environmental activist who claimed that people were seen trying to capture these rare animals using traps.

Calls to the Wildlife Department went unanswered, probably because it was a weekend.

The Star also called up Penghulu Saging Bit, a local chieftain in Belaga, to find out what was actually happening.

Saging explained that the people who were trying to trap and capture the animals were wildlife rangers from Sarawak Forestry and locals hired to help them in the task.

“Personnel from Sarawak Forestry are trying to catch the animals in the Murum valley to save them from the rising waters. Attempts are being made now to trap these rare animals so that they can be relocated to higher ground.

“There are locals helping out in this task. There is a very big area to cover and there are many types of animals on the ground and living among the treetops. It is not an easy task,” he said.

Saging said there were many endangered animals, among them deer, macaques and hornbills, in the valley.

The Star yesterday obtained a copy of the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment Report on the Murum dam from a government source, and indeed, in the report, it was noted that there were at least 99 species of birds and at least 19 species of mammals living in the Murum valley.

Sixteen of the bird species were categorised as rare and protected while six species were listed as endangered and totally protected, including hornbills and Argus pheasants.

The endangered mammals found in Murum that are totally protected are Bornean Gibbon, Giant Squirrel and Western Tarsier.

The report recommended that the animal rescue operation be done in such a way that these birds and mammals were trapped and then released in forests beyond the dam area where they can continue to nest and forage for food.

The report acknowledged that construction work at the Murum dam site and flooding of the dam reservoir had indeed brought adverse impact to the birds and mammals in Murum and that this was one of the negative consequences of the project.

Police to arrest 40 more Penans

Dukau Papau
10:15AM Oct 7, 2013

The government has dispatched more police personnel including 43 members of the Public Order Riot Unit (PORU) to the Murum dam site in Belaga in an effort to arrest 40 Penans who are said to be involved in putting up blockades to protect against the impoundment of the dam.


Seorang polis telah melepaskan tembakan amaran ke udara apabila beratus-ratus orang yang membantah minta untuk ditahan bersama dengan Ngang Buling, sebagai penunjuk solidariti. Foto dan kapsyen (disunting) dari Sarawak Report.

One policeman shot in the air as hundreds of protestors asked to be arrested in solidarity when Ngang Buling was arrested yesterday. Photo and caption source (edited) dari Sarawak Report.

Kenyataan Media
4 Oktober 2013

Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia ( JOAS ) menggesa untuk melepaskan dengan segera Ngang Buling, seorang Penan dari Murum yang ditahan pada 3 Okt, 2013 pada 10 pagi.

JOAS, yang terdiri daripada 89 ahli organisasi berasaskan komuniti di Malaysia, mengutuk sekeras-kerasnya tindakan oleh pihak polis yang menangkap dan menembak ke udara untuk menyuraikan Orang Asal yang terdesak untuk mendirikan sekatan demi untuk melindungi tanah, wilayah dan sumber mereka.

Ngang Buling telah ditahan di tapak pembinaan empangan Murum kerana mahu menghentikan penakungan empangan dan telah dibawa ke balai polis Belaga untuk disoal siasat.

Walaupun tidak diletakkan di dalam tahanan, namun beliau terpaksa tinggal di balai polis selama empat hari. Kami juga menyeru agar Sarawak Energy dan kerajaan Sarawak menghentikan penakungan empangan sehingga semua rundingan telah diselesaikan dengan cara yang baik dan semua perjanjian ditunaikan. JOAS mengingatkan tanggungjawap kerajaan untuk memastikan kehidupan rakyat di kawasan itu selamat dan hak asasi manusia mereka dipertahankan.

JOAS juga menggesa pihak berkuasa yang berkaitan dan pihak polis untuk mengawal tindakannya bila berdepan dengan Orang Asal yang terjejas oleh Murum empangan HEP bagi mengelak masalah-masalah lain.

Thomas Jalong
Presiden JOAS


Media Statement
4th October 2013


Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) calls for the immediately release of Ngang Buling, a Penan from the Murum region who was arrested on Oct 3, 2013 at 10 am.

JOAS, with its members comprising of 89 indigenous community-based organisations and indigenous peoples organisations in Malaysia, strongly condemns the police shooting in the air to disperse protesters, and the arrest by the police of, indigenous peoples who are forced to put up blockades to protect their lands, territories and resources.

Ngang Buling was arrested at a blockade at the Murum dam site to stop the impoundment of the dam and was brought to the Belaga police station for questioning. Although not placed in detention, he was told that he had to stay at the police station for four days.

We also call on Sarawak Energy and the Sarawak government to stop impounding the dam until all negotiations have been settled amicably and the agreed settlements have been reached. JOAS reminds the government of its duty to ensure the lives of people in the area are not put into danger and that their human rights are upheld.

Thomas Jalong
JOAS President

Protestors like Penans not above the law — Masing

Posted on October 4, 2013, Friday

KUCHING: Those protesting the Murum hydro-electric dam, including those from the Penan community, should realise they are not exempted from the laws of this land.

Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said this when commenting on the police action to stop protesters at the Murum dam blockade site yesterday.

Petition: Respect the Rights of Penan of Murum and Stop Murum Dam!

Click here to sign the petition

Photographs of indigenous Penan blockade at Murum dam

More pictures here

PKR: Suhakam must probe gunshot at Penan protest

9:56AM Oct 6, 2013

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) must probe plans to submerge Penan villages in Sarawak for a dam project and the manner in which the locals' protest was broken up with a fired shot, says PKR environmental bureau chief Lee Chean Chung.

Video of Penan/Police confrontation in Murum:

Police arrest a Penan near Murum dam

Dukau Papau
12:38PM Oct 3, 2013

Police from Belaga fired shots into the air to stop more than 300 protesters who also wanted to be arrested after a protester, Ngang Buling, was arrested at their Murum dam blockade site at 10.10am today.

'Dam workers' lives threatened by protesters'

Malaysiakini 4:47PM Oct 1, 2013

Workers at the Murum hydroelectric dam had their lives threatened by protesters who were instigated by “foreign troublemakers and anti-government NGOs”, Sarawak Energy Bhd claims.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Penan lodged police report against SEB & Sarawak Govt. Wants Murum Dam impoundment stopped


1 October 2013

MIRI - A few representatives from the Penan community affected by the Murum HEP Dam came down to Miri to lodged a police report against Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and the Sarawak State Government for impounding the dam without giving them notice while most of the Penans are yet to move to the resettlement sites and negotiations are still on between the communities and the State Government.

The Penans in their statement to the press today said they were caught by surprise when SEB started to impound the dam last Sunday, 22 September 2013 and since then their daily lives have been affected and they are worried about their safety.

A spokesman from the community, Lugan Usang who hails from Long Tangau, in a statement to the press today said that the safety of his people are at risk because above the Murum HEP Dam there are still many Penan and Kenyah communities that have yet to move and are still living at their respective villages of Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu, Long Malim, Long Wat and Long Umpa. Their livestock are also at risk.

“We were totally caught by surprise with this impoundment.

“The government never issued any notice or obtained our free, prior and informed consent before starting to impound the dam,” said Lugan.

Furthermore, Lugan said that the unannounced impoundment of the dam would soon cause their properties, farms, fruit trees and their customary lands to be destroyed.

Lugan further added that until today, the State Government and SEB has yet to decide on their demands for compensation to their houses, farms, fruit trees and other properties. They do not want their properties to be destroyed as these are their only evidence to claim for compensation.

Lugan also pointed out that the Penans and Kenyah are not ready to move because the resettlement site at Metalon has yet to be completed.

“The crops and fruit trees which were promised to us by the government to sustain our livelihood have yet to be planted.

“The same goes for the school and the clinic, it is not built yet. How are we going to live at Metalon?” Lugan asked.

“We want the impoundment to stop now,” said Senang Kalang who is from Long Luar.

“We want the State Government and SEB to honour our demands and give us our due compensation.

“We urge the State Government and SEB to stop the impoundment immediately until all our demands are met,” added Senang.

SEB CEO chased out by Penans

Meanwhile at the blockade site today, the Penans have reported that Torstein Dale Sjotveit, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for SEB was chased out from the dam site as he failed to meet the demands of the Penans and Kenyah communities as well as to lift the blockade.

The Penans said that Sjotveit was arrogant in dealing with the Penans and that has no interest at all to negotiate and instead was adamant to order the protesters to lift their blockade and leave the area.

Instead of ordering the protesters to leave, the Penans chased him out of the site which forced the police to intervene and to take Sjotveit away to a secure location.

- END –

For more information, please contact Raymond Abin at +60138449345 or Abun Sui Anyit at+60168881502

Press Release issued by:
Mark Bujang
Secretary, SAVE Rivers

1) Picture of Murum Dam before the impoundment

2) Picture of a barge stranded by low water level below the dam

3) Water level rising

4) Another view of water level rising

5) Torstein D. Sjotveit being confronted by the Penans

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Future blur for resettled Penans

Winston Way| October 1, 2013

Aid from the government and Sarawak Energy Berhad are only ‘cosmetic and short-term’ solutions that don't equip Penans for their new life, claims lawyer Abun Sui Anyit

KUCHING: The semi-nomadic Penan community now relocated from their village in Long Wat due to the construction of Murum Dam are in a daze and clueless about what the future holds.

Resettled in their new longhouse at Tegulang, the community however is uncertain and to some extent afraid, said their spokesman and lawyer Abun Sui Anyit.

Community divided by dam

Penans affected by Murum Dam impoundment split in their stand on resettlement

MURUM, Belaga: The construction of Murum dam has resulted in the 353 affected Penan families taking two different paths – one willing to be resettled and the other staying put until all their demands are met.

Eighty-nine families comprising about 300 members from Long Wat has settled in Tegulang, adapting to modern living since early last month.

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