Penan renew blockade at Murum Dam

The Penan affected by the Murum Dam have renewed their blockade at the dam site as the government has still failed to fulfil their demands such as for fair compensation, enough land for farming and a share in the profits coming from the Murum Dam.

The Penan first blocked the construction at the Murum dam in September and October 2012 for several weeks when they heard about the conditions of their resettlement. After failed negotiations with the government, they renewed the blockade in late August this year.

The blockade was suspended on September 4, when the government and the dam developer Sarawak Energy invited them for negotiations. Under a lot of pressure, the Penan group from Long Wat decided to accept an additional MYR10,000 per family and moved to their new resettlement at Tegulang. The Long Wat village is the first to face the water of the rising Murum reservoir. The controversial CEO of Sarawak Energy, Torstein Dale Sjotveit, accompanied the resettling Penan one week ago.

Other affected communities, however, expressed that their leaders were not invited to the negotiations and renewed the blockade three days ago. They are not willing to accept the MYR10,000 per family. They want the government to meet their demands before moving to their resettlement site at Metalon. They insist that each family receives not 14 but 25 hectares of land, a 10 per cent share in the profits from the Murum Dam and full compensation for their lost land among other things.

The Penan have been protesting peacefully at the dam site. Sources from the ground reported that the police escorted the workers to the dam site and tried to intimidate the protesting Penan.

A young Penan expressed his disappointment with the government’s and Sarawak Energy’s empty promises in an interview filmed by the Peoples Documentary: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5Pe5WSIoRY


Large dams can only serve as last resort, acknowledged the Malaysian Ministry of the Environment.




Recommend this on twitter.

Follow Bruno Manser Fonds on Twitter Follow our tweet.