Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu is again misleading the people. Recently quoted in the Borneo Post, he stated “Aye for proposed Baram HEP – Jabu”, saying that “community leaders and representatives in Baram are all for the proposed Baram Hydroelectric Dam Project.” Read more below from the SAVE Rivers press release.
MIRI – Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu was again misleading the people where he was quoted in the Borneo Post dated 10 March 2013 (Sunday) headlined “Aye for proposed Baram HEP – Jabu”, by saying that “community leaders and representatives in Baram are all for the proposed Baram Hydroelectric Dam Project.”
Save Sarawak Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) is refuting Jabu’s statement as we know from reliable sources who were present at the dialogue session with Sarawak’s Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in Miri last Friday (8 March 2013) are saying otherwise.
Most of the participants who were at the dialogue session were from the Federation of Orang Ulu Associations Malaysia (FORUM) and civil servants. Not all of the community leaders directly affected by the proposed dam were present and for those community leaders who were present, they are not directly affected by the proposed dam.
The dialogue was arranged in a way that only selected people were given the chance to speak and it was orchestrated to give the impression that all those who spoke agreed with the dam. Those who spoke were Datuk Hassan Sui, Gerawat Gala, Temenggong Pahang Ding, Lucas Kallang and Charlie Avit.
Of the 5 people who spoke, only Lucas Kallang is directly affected by the proposed dam as he is from Long Julan. The rest of the speakers are not directly affected or are not from Baram District.
During the dialogue, Taib admitted that the Government had made mistakes during the implementation of the Bakun Hydroelectric Dam Project and he put the blame on the Federal Government for not providing enough funds for the resettlement exercise. Taib said the State Government is learning from past mistakes and this time around they would make the proposed Baram HEP project better.
However, SAVE Rivers is very sceptical with Taib’s statement as the State Government is repeating the same mistakes in the Bengoh and Murum Dam project. There is no guarantee that they will not repeat the same mistakes in the proposed Baram Dam.
The State Government is again making the same mistakes in the proposed Baram Dam project i.e. not much information about the proposed project and no proper consultation with the people directly affected; no Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) has been done yet, but access road to Baram Dam has already begun construction; and people directly affected are asked to fill in forms with “pencil” of which they have no or limited knowledge about.
After the dialogue session, there was no indication from the floor that everyone gave their “thumbs up” to the proposed dam according to what Jabu was quoted in the Borneo Post. The participant’s attendance list cannot be a gauge for the peoples’ support for the project as well.
While the dialogue was held inside a prominent hotel in Miri, a group of about 70 protesters from Baram, Suai and Niah protested to voice out their displeasure towards the Chief Minister on the proposed Baram dam. The protesters shouted “Stop Baram Dam”, “Don’t grab our lands” and also demanded the government to look into the issue of undocumented citizens i.e. citizens with no birth certificates and identity cards.
Last year Jabu together with FORUM President, Gerawat Gala and Temenggong Pahang also tried to mislead the people of Baram by making sweeping statements which was quoted in the Borneo Post dated 18 May 2012 headlined “Community support for Baram Dam”, saying that the people affected by the proposed Baram HEP have collectively agreed to the project.
This statement was met with strong criticism and opposition from the people directly affected by the proposed dam as well as civil society organisations.
PRESS STATEMENT BY SAVE RIVERS
For further information, contact Peter Kallang, 013 8331104 or Mark Bujang, 014 8776685.