Baram folks oppose mega Baram Dam

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The Baram Protection Action Committee would like to refute the statement made by Councillor Dennis Ngau which was published in the Borneo Post dated 5 November 2010.

The Councillor was reported to have said that the majority of the Baram people are in favour of the Baram HEP dam and that only the opposition and a few NGOs are against the project.

The BPAC regards the statement as misleading and unjustified and strongly urges the said Councillor to retract his statement and make a public apology to the people of Baram through the same newspaper as well as through other papers which are in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.

The BPAC strongly deplores such a statement and utterances reportedly made by Councillor Dennis Ngau on the following grounds:

The statement misleads government leaders, the relevant authorities and the general public by saying that the Baram people support the mega Baram HEP dam project when in fact a vast majority of the people are strongly against it and demand that it be scrapped.

Councillor Dennis Ngau had not made any visits to each of the longhouses identified to be affected directly and indirectly by the project and had not consulted the villagers about their views on the project.

As far as the Baram people who reside along the main Baram are concerned, there was no referendum conducted by the Councillor on the people’s response towards the project.

Councillor Dennis comes from a village situates along the Apoh River, away from the main Baram River. He foresees that the Baram HEP dam will not adversely affect him directly while in fact he will be affected in other ways.

Dennis’s statement reflects total disregard and disrespect for the basic and inherent rights of the people along the main Baram to decide for ourselves on matters affecting our people’s interests, livelihood, survival and future.

His statement is an open insult to our people’s intelligence and our capacity to think, act and articulate our views, concerns, and demands.

His statement indicates that he condones the ‘bulldoze’ approach to bring so-called development which purportedly benefits the Baram people but actually brings disaster. This is sheer insanity.

Save the Baram and its people. Stop the dam. People first, profits later. Baramites and Sarawakians, stand up for your right!

Philip Jau is chairman of the Baram Protection Action Committee

First published on Aliran website on 14 January 2011

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