150 people protest at proposed Baram dam site
Sarawak natives protesting against Baram dam at the proposed dam site
The SAVE Rivers Network, representing the people fighting the proposed dams all over Sarawak, called for a prayer and protest session at the proposed Baram dam site, a dam which would flood 400km2 of rainforest and displace 20,000 people. The protests were a reaction of the local people to a prayer session hold by the government and Sarawak Energy in April to bless the construction of the dam. The protest and prayer session, which took place on the 7th of June, was a great success according to the SAVE Rivers Network:
Prayer session to stop Baram Dam attract large crowd from all over Baram
LONG NA’AH, BARAM – About 150 people in 17 longboats from the Kayan, Kenyah and Penan community in Baram gathered at the proposed Baram Hydro-electric Dam project at Nahah Itun Uvek, just below the village of Long Na’ah last Thursday (7 June 2012) to hold a prayer session to seek divine intervention to stop the said project.
During the hour long prayer session, hymns were sung and prayers were said by community members to ask for strength and courage for the people in Baram to continue their struggle to demand from the government to stop the said project as well as to ask the Almighty to change the hearts and minds of those people who are for the dam.
According to Peter Kallang, Chairman of Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers), the prayer session went very well and he was happy to see the overwhelming support given by the communities in Baram demanding that the controversial Baram Dam be scrapped.
“I am touched by the support given by the people of Baram. The people that came for the prayer session far outnumber the people that came for the ‘Mayau Daleh’ ritual last April,” said Peter.
“I also received a lot of calls, short messaging messages (SMS), messages in blogs, Twitter and Facebook all supporting our prayer session and calling for the scrapping of the project,” added Peter.
After the session, Philip Jau, Chairman of Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC) urged the government and those who are for the dam to reflect on the passage from the Bible from the Book of Genesis on the covenant made by God to Noah to never again flood the earth with a great flood.
“To all those who are Christians, especially our community leaders, I urge you to reflect on the message that God has given us. We should not destroy what God has created by creating our own flood by building the dam,” said Philip.
On the previous night, about 200 people turn up for a dialogue session at Long Na’ah village and those who spoke representing their respective communities together with a few headmen including the headman of Long Na’ah, TK Wan Saging stated clearly their rejection to the said project.
The site where the prayer session was held is also the site where Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) together with state government officials and community leaders conducted their ‘Mayau Daleh’ or cleansing ritual last April for the safety of workers that are going to construct the dam.
Watch these latest protests against Sarawak Energy's dam plans: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bpRzpDqmflI#
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