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.
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For more information, please contact Raymond Abin at +60138449345 or Abun Sui Anyit at+60168881502
Press Release issued by:
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