MIRI, MALAYSIA, April 16, 2012 –/WORLD-WIRE/– Members of Save Sarawak s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) and someconcerned citizens held a peaceful demonstration in front of aleading hotel here to send a strong message to the communityleaders meeting with Senator Lihan Jok at the hotel to reject theBaram Hydro-electric Dam Project. Earlier on, church leaders were also invited to attend the meetingwith the Senator. About 30 people turned up for the demonstration and even underheavy police presence they clearly stated their displeasure at theSarawak State Government s insistence to go forward with thecontroversial dam project. According to the Chairman of SAVE Rivers, Mr. Peter Kallang, Wein the SAVE Rivers Network have just come back from our visit tovarious longhouses in Baram. |
At our meetings with them and duringprivate interviews which are electronically recorded (on audio andvideo), practically all of the villagers do not want the dam to bebuilt. Peter stressed that he does not want to see their community andchurch leaders being used and abused by the government to force thepeople to accept the dam project. If the government is sincere in bringing development and powersupply to the rural areas why don t they develop micro-hydroprojects? questioned Peter. We do not want this sort of destructive project which permanentlydestroy the environment and deprive our people of their land andproperties.
This is not the so called development we want. added Peter. Mr. Philip Jau from Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC) whichis also one of the community based organisation in SAVE RiversNetwork said that the government has been very secretive in dealingwith the people in Baram to get them to agree to the dam project.
The people of Baram really oppose this dam project. We don toppose development per say, but the dam project is not thedevelopment we want and any development projects being put forwardby the government should be done in a transparent and justmanner. said Philip. Mr.
Mark Bujang from Borneo Resources Institute, Malaysia (BRIMAS)also one of the NGOs in the SAVE Rivers Network questioned theState Government on the status of the Social and EnvironmentalImpact Assessment studies. Why does the government want the Baram Dam to be built urgently,when these studies are yet to be carried out? questioned Mark. The meeting called by Senator Lihan is to prepare for a prayersession to be held at the proposed dam site between Long Kesseh andLong Na ah which will be held on Saturday 21 April 2012. Senator Lihan is formerly the State Assemblyman for theconstituency of Telang Usan, where the proposed Baram Dam is goingto be located. During the last state election, Senator Lihan was dropped as theincumbent but was recently appointed as a Senator in the UpperHouse of the Malaysian Parliament.
This is the same person that courted controversy when he mentionedto the people in Baram that the dam is a gift from God . He alsocourted controversy previously with his suggestion to change thename of Orang Ulu to Lun Daya of which the Orang Ulu communitystrongly condemned. The demonstration started at 2 pm and lasted for half and hourbefore the police told the demonstrators to disperse. Press Statement released by: Mark Bujang Secretary, SAVE Rivers Save Sarawak s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) Jaringan Selamatkan Sungai-Sungai Sarawak Secretariat Office: Lot 1046, 2nd Floor, Shang Garden Shoplots, Jalan Bulan Sabit, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia Tel: 085-423044 / Fax: 085-438580 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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