Malaysia faces criticism over plans for 12 new Sarawak dams

Campaigners have taken their protests against Sarawak’s plans to build a dozen hydro-electric dams to the United Nations in Geneva, reports Bruno Manser Fund.

protest against Sarawak dams
Photograph: BMF

Geneva – Environmental activists from Switzerland and Malaysia gathered at lunch time on 14 March in front of the UN seat at Geneva’s Place des Nations to protest against plans to construct 12 hydroelectric dams in Sarawak.

Following the rally in Geneva, the Malaysian representative to the UN was given a petition with 6000 signatures from Swiss citizens calling for Malaysia to halt the dam plans.

The Geneva action followed a similar protest held yesterday by indigenous communities in Sarawak, Malaysia, to mark the International Action Day for Rivers.

In a press statement, the Bruno Manser Fund sharply criticised the lack of transparency of the Malaysian dam plans which will cause the forced displacement of tens of thousands of indigenous people and will irreversibly destroy hundreds of square kilometres of tropical forests.

“These dam plans amount to a serious breach of the affected communities’ human rights and would destroy their river-based culture,” the Bruno Manser Fund stated. “It is shocking to see that corruption and not true energy demand is the main driver behind these projects.”

Malaysia has recently completed the 2400 MW Bakun mega dam, Asia’s largest dam outside China.

The Bruno Manser Fund calls on the international community to pressure Malaysia to halt all further dam projects on Borneo.

Sign the online petition against the disaster dams in Sarawak.

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19 Mar 2012 6.38pm

Interesting article. The World Bank estimates that forcible “development-induced displacement and resettlement” now affects 10 million people per year. According to the World Bank an estimated 33 million people have been displaced by development projects such as dams, urban development and irrigation canals in India alone. India is well ahead in this respect. A country with as many as over 3600 large dams within its belt can never be the exceptional case regarding displacement. The number of development induced displacement is higher than the conflict induced displacement in India. According to Bogumil Terminski an estimated more than 10 million people have been displaced by development each year. Athough the exact number of development-induced displaced people (DIDPs) is difficult to know, estimates are that in the last decade 90–100 million people have been displaced by urban, irrigation and power projects alone, with the number of people displaced by urban development becoming greater than those displaced by large infrastructure projects (such as dams). DIDPs outnumber refugees, with the added problem that their plight is often more concealed. This is what experts have termed “development-induced displacement.” According to Michael… Read more »