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Thread: Sarawak's Dam(n) Problem

   
   
       
  1. #11
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    Bought By Belian! Baram’s Betrayal By BN MP – MAJOR EXCLUSIVE

    Posted Saturday, February 25th, 2012

    Local man who has swapped loyalty for wealth

    The people of Baram have been sold down their own river by their native MP, the Federal Deputy Trade & Industry Minister Jacob Sagan!

    Sarawak Report has received exclusive information, indicating that the local man’s support for Taib’s plans to flood his own area has been bought by two large timber concessions, allowing him to log Belian wood!

    The shocking betrayal explains why Sagan, who is himself a Kenyah, born in Long Anap on the banks of the Baram River, is refusing to prevent Taib’s plans to build yet another dam in the region.

    The proposed Baram Dam would flood about 400 square kilometres of forest lands and displace around 20,000 indigenous people from Sagan’s own community, including his home village of Long Anap. Altogether, 26 Kenyah, Kayan and Penan villages will be drowned under water.

    Secret Belian concessions for Taib cronies!


    Precious hardwood forest. Belian Timber licences are only handed out to 'special people'!

    Local people have been at a loss to understand Sagan’s support for the project, which would destroy one of Borneo’s most precious remaining rainforest regions and the livelihoods of its people.

    There is no further need for electricity in Sarawak, so the dam has been condemned as unnecessary.

    However, secret Forestry Department Maps have now been made available to Sarawak Report, which give one very persuasive reason.

    The maps show that Sagan has been handed two hugely valuable Belian timber concessions right within his own region!


    Forestry map key that shows that striped red stands for Belian Timber Concession

    Standard timber concessions rarely include Belian, which is an endangered species and extremely valuable.

    Under normal licences the loggers are supposed to leave such special conservation species standing and it is subject to a total export ban.

    However, rumours have persisted that special concessions for Belian timber have been given out to Taib’s political cronies to buy their support.

    Our maps show that there is indeed a network of these Belian concessions in the Baram area, which still has stretches of virgin forest and it names the companies and the licence numbers.

    Winjac Sdn Bhd and Milisha Holdings Sdn Bhd

    Two of these concessions are placed right in the middle of Jacob Sagan’s own Baram constituency area and cover an impressive area amounting to some 15 square kilometres. The companies owning the concessions are named Winjac Sdn Bhd and Milisha Holdings Sdn Bh.


    Winjac Sdn Bhd & Miilisha Holdings Sdn Bhd - Belian concessions in Baram

    Wider maps show that these two concessions are situated right in the middle of the Baram region, near the Indonesian border and not far from Jacob Sagan’s birthplace of Long Anap.

    While, Sagan has travelled far and enjoyed a good life, thanks to becoming an ultra-loyal supporter of Taib, most of his relatives still live in this area.


    Regional map showing the timber concessions belonging to Winjac & Milisha Sdn Bhd

    The value of these concessions run into millions of ringgit, according to experts in the business. Belian is an endangered species and takes hundreds of years to grow into the mature ‘iron wood’ , for which it is famous.


    Belian leaf - surely the wealth of the forests should be conserved and shared?

    The wood can sell at up to RM6,000 a ton, which is a sign of its growing scarcity, caused by the greed of the timber companies who have invaded Sarawak’s forests.

    So, who is getting these favoured concessions worth such wealth and what are they paying for them?

    Indeed, under normal uncorrupted practices Belian would be banned from being logged altogether, just as it is supposedly banned from being exported.

    Also, under normal uncorrupted practices, any licence that was given out would be tendered, so that the licence would go to the highest bidder and the money for the licence could then be used by the government to improve the lives of local people.

    Timber licence money would be one way to pay for schools, roads, electricity, water pumps and better health care and allowances. However, the people of Baram remain poor and with few such services.

    So, who has these concessions and what did they pay?
    Milisha Holdings Sdn Bhd is jointly owned by Jacob Sagan himself and his wife, Winnie Jolly!

    It turns out the shareholders of the company Milisha Holdings Sdn Bhd are other than local MP and Government Minister, Jacob Sagan and his wife Winnie Jolly!

    Did Jacob Sagan tell his voters?

    This demands an explanation from Taib Mahmud and Jacob Sagan, preferably to the forces of law and order. Because, to secretly hand an MP of your own political party a large and valuable timber concession is a scandalous conflict of interest.

    People in public office should not get involved in any form of business involving state concessions, for obvious reasons, and any business interests should be openly declared.

    But, there is no evidence that Sagan has publicly declared this timber licence BT/9107, granted to his company Milisha Holdings. Nor is there any evidence that he has declared licence BT/1962, which he also holds through his wife and daughter’s ownership of Winjac Sdn Bhd.Sagan's wife and daughter own this other timber company with Belian concessions in the Baram region

    Perhaps we will learn how many of Jacob Sagan’s constituents were aware that
    Jacob Sagan has been handed two Belian concessions worth millions of ringgit, thanks to Taib’s Planning and Resources Ministry.

    With what did Sagan pay for this concession?


    Sagan at a party for SPDP, his party which is known for its loyalty for Taib and BN

    Next, it is important to discover how much did Jacob Sagan pay for this secretive concession that has been granted to him in the land belonging to his own voters by the BN government of Taib Mahmud?

    Such a valuable concession, worth millions of ringgit, should have cost a very great deal in premium payments to the statute.

    However, on his salary as an MP of RM12,000 a month how could he afford this?
    His previous career as a Sarawak civil servant could not legitimately have made him a rich man either!

    At the moment, because Taib keeps all his timber negotiations a scandalous secret, we have no information about how much Sagan paid, if anything.
    As a result, we are left with the inevitable conclusion that Sagan has paid for these concessions with the one thing that he has that is of value to Taib Mahmud, which is his political support.

    So, if Taib has decided that he can make himself wealthier by flooding the people of Baram and using the electricity to power factories owned by himself, then BN MPs like Jacob Sagan have no choice but to support him.
    It is plain that Jacob Sagan’s loyalty has been bought by Belian.

    Because he has been bought by Belian, Jacob Sagan can no longer fight for what is right for his people.

    So, even if Taib decides to flood their lands, destroy their livings and move all his relatives to resettlement towns with minimal compensation, Jacob Sagan has to keep supporting Taib.

    If not, Jacob and his wife and family would lose their Belian concessions and have to live on their actual income of RM12,000 a month.

    That might sound a very good salary for most people, but BN MPs have got used to living like kings, because they have sold their duty towards their people in return for licences to plunder them.

    Will any of Sarawak's trees be allowed to stay standing, as BN's MPs set about plundering what is left of the state?


    py

  2. #12
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    Vote for BN, for God's sake


    http://malaysiakini.com/news/198972

    Taib's promise was never kept, to no-one's surprise.

    The gentle Penan leaders had invited all 71 state assembly representatives to hear their plan for an area protected from logging and other incursions.

    The Penan chiefs proposed an ecologically conserved Penan Peace Park covering 1,628 square kilometres.
    All 15 DAP and PKR members showed up to the presentation to support the Penan proposal, but not a single BN member replied to the invitation.

    There was also dignity in the restrained joy shown by villagers from Sebangan, Sebuyau, this week, when the High Court awarded a land rights victory to them over the state government.

    Taib's administration had allowed Quality Concrete, partly owned by Taib's sister Radziah @ Roziah, a 'provisional licence' to log on native customary rights land.

    When local native landowners protested, the 'Sebangan Seven' were jailed, and then released without charge, as a form of intimidation.

    There was also courage and dignity on display, when native representatives from 13 different villages in middle Baram met in Long San, to sign a joint letter of protest against the Baram Dam.

    After months of promising that the Baram Dam was merely a proposal, and after insisting it had been shelved pending public consultation, the state government announced that local communities would be uprooted to somewhere in the highlands of Usun Apau.

    Desperate times, desperate measures

    In contrast, there was conspicuously less dignity in the desperate measures taken by Lawas MP Henry Sum Agung to defend his seat in the upcoming general election.

    On May 9, the Borneo Post reported that the MP had urged the (mainly Christian) Lun Bawang majority in his constituency to vote for the BN, because "the Lun Bawang must uphold their integrity and not act as ‘Judas' of BN (sic) which had contributed much to their well-being".

    Henry Sum Agong's comparison of the BN to Jesus triggered a furious reaction.
    Baru Bian, PKR state assemblyperson for Ba'kelalan and a Lun Bawang from Lawas, called Henry Sum's remark "ludicrous, if not blasphemous".

    Baru Bian (right) has long campaigned for decent public services in Lawas. Local villagers languish without paved roads, treated water or electricity, in most parts of this vast division.

    "I humbly urge not only the Lun Bawangs in Lawas or Sarawakians in Limbang, but all Malaysians, to remember it was not that we the rakyat betrayed the BN government, instead the BN government that had betrayed and short-changed the rakyat for the last 50 years", he said in a press statement.

    The Archbishops of the Catholic and Anglican churches in Sarawak, the two largest congregations of Christians, did not respond to requests for comments on the 'Judas' quote.

    If Henry Sum Agong is relying on divine intervention to retain his parliamentary seat, he may be disappointed.

    Looking to divine intervention

    Politics does not divide neatly into good and evil - there are shades of grey. Demonising opponents does not advance political debate.

    Many Malaysian Christians insist that religion must be left out of politics completely, quoting the biblical exhortation to "render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar; render unto God those things that belong to God".

    But most do not understand that all that belong to Caesar also belong to God.
    As Mahatma Gandhi said, "those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." Demagogues have tried, throughout history, to manipulate God to stay in power.

    As geneticist Johnjoe McFadden described in the British newspaper The Guardian, a study published by Lee Ross and his Stanford University colleagues in March found that the image of Jesus held among left-leaning or liberal Christian Americans bears little resemblance to that imagined by Christian conservatives.

    "The researchers asked respondents to imagine what Jesus would have thought about contemporary issues such as taxation, immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion," McFadden wrote.

    "Perhaps not surprisingly, Christian Republicans imagined a Jesus who tended to be against wealth redistribution, illegal immigrants, abortion and same-sex marriage; whereas the Jesus of Democrat-voting Christians would have had far more liberal opinions.

    The Bible may claim that God created man in his own image, but the study suggests man creates God in his own image."

    Henry Sum Agong has certainly attempted to have himself and his party cast in the divine image.

    But the BN's ban of the word "Allah" in Christian worship, and the confiscation of Bibles in Malay, have caused widespread disquiet among Christian Sarawakians.

    Henry Sum Agong's 'Judas' rhetoric has caused more unhappiness, and his chances of retaining his Lawas parliamentary seat remain decidedly shaky.


    KERUAH USIT is a human rights activist - ‘anak Sarawak, bangsa Malaysia’. This weekly column is an effort to provide a voice for marginalised Malaysians. Keruah Usit can be contacted at keruah_usit@yahoo.com

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    py

  3. #13
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    Sarawak Makes A Date On Australian TV

    ****Follow the link for the video****

    Posted Tuesday, August 21st, 2012


    Prime Time TV in Australia makes a Date with Sarawak
    Australia’s longest-running and highly prestigious TV current affairs programme,Dateline, has just devoted a full half hour show to the problems of logging in Sarawak and to Taib Mahmud’s crazy plan to build 12 more dams in the state


    Their veteran reporter, David O’Shea, spent days filming in Sarawak and interviewing people who had been flooded from their homes by Bakun,


    He also visited some of the villages which have been suffering from gangster attacks on behalf of logging companies.


    These are, of course, daily issues for the poor people of Sarawak and they are heard about daily on the show Radio Free Sarawak. However, for many Australians what is happening to the people of Sarawak and to their beautiful forest will come as a shock and surprise.


    David O'Shea - the Dateline journalist who toured Sarawak last month
    O’Shea features the Ukit people of Bakun, who have been reduced to living in their old homes, which are now floating on the waters of the gigantic lake which has flooded their lands.


    He also interviews many villagers, whose timber is being ripped out by Ta Ann, the company owned and run by Taib’s cousin, Hamed Sepawi.


    Later on the programme he challenges Sepawi and a Sarawak Electricity Board spokesmen about why they are driving through 12 more unnecessary dams without even conducting the proper consultation and impact assessments first?


    Sarawak Report also took part in an interview about the corruption that is the real reason behind the building of these dams and the destruction of Sarawak’s great forests. However, Taib Mahmud himself refused several requests to be interviewed. Does he not dare to face tough questions from journalists whom he cannot control?



    Australian connection


    Eco-wood? Tasmania's old growth forests are being destroyed to supply Ta Ann's sawmills
    Australia has become increasingly embroiled in the controversial activities in the State of Sarawak in recent years through a series of ties that have been developed between Hamed Sepawi and theState of Tasmania. These matters have been frequently highlighted on Sarawak Report.


    To begin with, in 2008, Sepawi’s company Ta Ann signed a deal with Tasmania to log out large areas of its native forests, many of which had been earmarked for protection. Outraged environmentalists then discovered that Sepawi was marketing this wood as environmentally friendly “eco-wood”.


    Much of this wood was marketed in Japan, but the scandal also hit London during the recent Olympic Games, when it was discovered that Ta Ann had also falsely sold the flooring for the construction of the London Sports Dock, where basketball was to be played. That contract was cancelled as were key contracts in Japan.


    Dams - Hydro-Tasmania has now picked up a huge contract to consult on Sarawak's dam projects. But, the risk of involvement in such controversial developments are raising questions in the state.
    Meanwhile, in one of his many other roles as Chairman of SEB Hamed Sepawi has simultaneously engaged Hydro-Tasmania to help lead the construction of Taib’s planned wave of destructive dams, which will displace tens of thousands of people and destroy Sarawak’s remaining great rivers and jungles.


    David O’Shea explores these tangled relationships between the state industries of Tasmania and the state industries of Sarawak, which of course are mired in the corruption and graft of Taib Mahmud.
    py

  4. #14
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    Taib Caves In Over Bakun’s Refugees – But Who Can Trust BN?



    Posted Monday, August 27th, 2012


    Flooded out - One of Bakun's floating homes, 'jelatongs' that BN are now proposing to outlaw after being shamed on Australian TV



    Following the expose on Australia’s Dateline programme last week, Taib’s state government has at last agreed to fulfil its own promises made to the people of Sungai Asap more than ten years ago.


    Land Development Minister, James Masing has now announced that these refugees are entitled to the homes into which they were forcibly moved and they are no longer being expected to pay the government tens of thousands of ringgit for their new dwellings.



    So, the message is clear. When you are dealing with a government like BN you need to stand up for your rights and protest, otherwise they will exploit and abandon you.


    There is no worse example of cheating and exploitation that what has been done to the 10,000 people of Bakun who have been flooded from their lands by that enormous dam. The same happened to the people of Batang Ai and the same looks set to happen to all the hundreds of thousands more Sarawakians who are now threatened by Taib’s plans to build another 12 monstrous and unnecessary dams.


    Promises are cheap



    The people of Bakun were of course made to understand that they had no choice about their removal. However, at the time they were promised that they could expect compensation in the form of replacement housing, jobs, compensation payments, land and also wealth from the electricity of the dam. Free water and electricity were also frequently mentioned to local people by the politicians and bureaucrats who encouraged them to accept the move.
    Just not home - the 'resettlement' at Sungai Asap - refugees have been threatened they must pay tens of thousands of ringgit each to the government for these homes



    Once they got to the bleak pre-fabricated housing of the resettlement town of Sungai Asap they realised they had been misled. Officials now told them they would have to pay for their new homes and that these were being valued far higher than the compensation payments they had received for their old homes. Who had the RM50,000 plus that was being asked by the government for the structures that soon turned out to be badly built and sub-standard?


    On top of that, protestors told the Dateline programme that the five acres of land that had been promised to each family, so that they could farm their own food, was never granted. Some families have found small plots, but the government has never handed them their land titles.
    Bakun - producing electricity that many residents of Sungai Asap cannot afford to pay for



    So what happened to the billions and billions of ringitt that were made out of deforesting this vast area the size of Singapore in advance of the dam being built?


    Why was none of this money used to compensate the local people, pay for their new homes, build adequate hospitals and schools, train them for new jobs and do all the things that had been promised by Taib’s politicians?


    What happened to all the promised “progress and development”?


    We know what happened to the money when we look at the big houses and jet set life-styles of BN’s politicians and their timber cronies. Bakun was never about helping the poor people of Sarawak.
    The Ukit have returned to their old lands and old homes, which are now floating on the water. BN plans to make them illegal



    Faced with hunger and squalor and misery in Sungai Asap, many of those native people have now returned to their original village homes, which are now floating on the sides of Bakun’s enormous man-made lake.



    Their pitiful plight and the outrageous story of their exploitation shown on prime-time Australian television is what has provoked the sudden stand down.


    Masing, who had been the original Chairman of the Bakun Dam Resettlement Committee and therefore directly to blame for much of the misery, admitted in yesterday’s statement that the state government had previously adopted the stance that it would pay “full compensation” for all previous houses affected by the Bakun Dam project, while demanding the families should pay for the new homes built for them.


    No surprise that the government put a low value on the houses it confiscated and a high one on the new ones it provided!


    But now he has conceded that the state government has climbed down. Masing claimed it was the visit by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak before the last state election that had overruled this mean and arbitrary arrangement. The PM had been worried at the bad publicity and was seeking a vote catcher and so agreed the Federal Government should pay 50% of the cost of removing the poor refugees from their debt.


    Voters held to ransom?



    James Masing has presided over this mess for twelve years - how can people trust another set of pre-election promises from this man?




    However, Masing’s speech revealed a further scandal! The money had been paid by the Federal Government in advance of the April 2011 election, yet 18 months later the State Government is still sitting on it!


    Masing was blatant about Taib’s tactics in this respect. He plans to use the announcement in order to curry favour with voters over two elections! The promise of money that was made before the state elections in 2011 is to be announced again just before the next Federal Election, which is likely to be in 2013!


    Why should the suffering people of Sungai Asap be forced to wait another two years to be given their right and to have promises fulfilled when at least the Federal Government has paid its share of the deal a good two years previously?


    Do we think it is because Taib lacks funds or do we think it is because he is determined once again to try and bribe people with things that should be rightfully theirs?


    Twelve years after their brutal banishment from their lands the people of Bakun are still waiting for promises to be fulfilled. And while it is good that Taib’s government has now been shamed into repeating these promises , who can believe a word BN say in advance of an election?


    Masing should take heed of what his colleague Senator Idris Buang told Dateline in his interview. The Senator said that any instances of outstanding compensation should be considered illegal!:


    “they ought to be compensated. It would be illegal, actually, if they’re not”.

    Yet there are thousands of such cases in Sungai Asap and his BN government has perpetrated illegal land grabs and requisitions against tens of thousands more throughout Sarawak.



    Shrine to a past life - the tragic jelatongs of Bakun lake number 270 !



    The people should learn from this lesson that ten years of meekness was rewarded only by meanness from BN and that only by standing up for their rights and by joining the demands of the opposition parties and human rights lawyers, who have been fighting their cause, have they managed even to gain the smallest concessions.


    And they should never trust Taib to fulfil those concessions when they are made BEFORE an election with a commitment to delivering AFTER the election!


    Taib’s government is now trying to ban the people who had in desperation returned to their floating homes after finding they could not make a living in Sugai Asap. BN want to make an exclusion zone and outlaw these shrines to the past history of the Ukit people.


    Is this a government that anyone wants to retain at the next election?
    py

  5. #15
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    Al Jazeera TV Picks Up On Sarawak’s Dam Disaster


    20 Sep 2012


    Just as they tried to silence the Last Frontier programme on Australia’s SBS, the film has popped up on Al Jazeera!


    Sarawak’s dam builders are learning how hard it is to stem a leak.


    The truth about Taib’s monstrous plans and their terrible impact on the people and the environment was finally revealed in a film by Australia’s Dateline programme, Last Frontier.


    Ever since that film was broadcast a couple of weeks ago the big players involved have been trying to slap it down and bully the broadcaster SBS into endless retractions. They have even been fighting to get the company to take it off the internet altogether.

    The Australian dam builders Hydro-Tasmania, who have been acting as the key advisor on all Sarawak’s future construction plans, has actually been lobbying SBS to issue a formal apology for the programme even being made!


    Given the crawling response by the company’s ‘ombudsman’, it looked as if Hydro-Tasmania, Ta Ann and Sarawak Energy’s combined onslaught of self-pitying complaints might well achieve that end.

    Apology for revealing the truth ! The programme was about Taib’s plans to destroy huge areas of Sarawak with 12 new dams which would affect hundreds of thousands of people

    Think of the barrage of complaints by Hydro-Tas, Ta Ann and Sarawak Energy as the PR equivalent of a mountain of glue and concrete being poured over a crack in Bakun!


    With SBS climbing down these companies have clearly judged that the film could be turned into another stick to beat poor Sarawak people, who are protesting against the destruction of their lands.


    But, just as the job was being made good, the damaging story has sprung up again on an entirely new Channel! Al Jazeera has run with the story also on its global programme 101 East.


    No fear about doing the right thing – the Muslim world’s top TV station has not hesitated to risk Taib’s wrath over this show.
    “Alleged corruption, rights violations and environmental degradation”

    The TV Channel, which one of the most highly regarded 24 hour news channels in the world and is headquartered in Doha, has long been a close watcher of Taib Mahmud’s management of Sarawak. In its title page it acknowledges that “alleged corruption, rights violations and environmental degradation plague Malaysia’s controversial Bakun dam project”. It goes on to say:

    “Thousands are set to lose their homes, as a controversial hydro power scheme gets underway. In the Malaysian state of Sarawak, the Bakun Dam has already flooded an area the size of Singapore. Some of those displaced say they’ve never received the full compensation they were promised. The state government, working with Australian company Hydro Tasmania, is embarking on an ambitious plan to build a further 12 dams – flooding vast tracts of river valley land – and displacing tens of thousands of indigenous people. Hydro Tasmania, an Australian state-owned energy company is involved with dam construction projects in Sarawak by the Sarawak Energy Board while Malaysian timber giant Ta Ann has received major timber harvesting contracts in Tasmania. Both businesses are linked through Hamed Sepawi, who is the chairman of Sarawak Energy Board and Ta Ann. He is also a cousin and close business associate of the state’s Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. Clare Rewcastle Brown, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, say there is a lack of accountability and transparency over the hydropower projects. Environmentalists and political activists in Malaysia and Australia are calling for the ‘unhealthy’ business ties between Tasmania and Sarawak to be investigated and audited by an independent body. The Malaysian government says the 20 gigawatt project capacity can change the economic face of Sarawak and says its links with Hydro Tasmania are legitimate, while the companies involved deny any wrongdoing.”[Last Frontier, Al Jazeera]

    Abdul Aziz Husain – another family member brought in by Taib to run key state industries
    In a previous show in 2009 101 East had already questioned Taib’s close involvement in the plans and examines “how the people of Sarawak lose out when family and business intertwine”.


    The programme focuses on the huge sums of money that Taib’s own family company CMS stands to make out of the dams from its monopoly over cement in the state.


    Bakun was the single biggest market for CMS cement explains reporter Howard Davies, but the company has also benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars worth of other contracts handed to it by Taib himself in a blatant conflict of interest.

    “From small beginnings in the cement industry it has built itself up to be the largest company in the state. Typical of its deals is the huge new State Parliament Building in the capital Kuching, a contract awarded by the State Government. Similar state contracts for a convention centre, roads, dams, power stations, hospitals, airports, bridges and a highly lucrative highway repair deals have also come into it, worth hundreds of millions of US dollars” [Fight the power, Al Jazeera]

    Al Jazeera also points out that the spokesman for Sarawak promoting the dams was yet another of Taib’s own close relatives, his brother-in-law and the then Managing Director of Sarawak Energy, Abdul Aziz Husain. None of this comes as a surprise to readers of Sarawak Report, who now know also that the so-called Thief Minister has amassed a personal fortune of USD$15billion under conservative estimates.


    Hydro-Tasmania cannot avoid blame
    Hydro-Tasmania CEO went on to ABC Radio to complain about the film
    So should Al Jazeera brace itself for a barrage of lawyers’ letters and big businesses bullying, now that they have again broadcast this important story right around the world?


    The key complaint by Hydro-Tasmania over the film has been that their role in Sarawak had been “exaggerated” and that they should not be held accountable for any shortcomings in the environmental or social management of Taib’s planned dam projects.


    Sally Begbie, the SBS ‘Ombudsman’ cravenly accepted this argument within a matter of hours. But how much research did she do?


    The internationally respected and renowned NGO International Rivers knows all about the rules relating to dam building and it has written a devastating response to Ms Begbie’s ruling in favour of Hydro-Tasmania:

    “The evidence of corruption and human rights abuses surrounding the Sarawak dams is well documented, and the Dateline story highlighted many of these concerns.” says International Rivers in its statement entitled Hydro-Tasmania washes its hands of human rights violations in Malaysia.


    The NGO continues, “The head of the Sarawak government, Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, has been in power for over 30 years and his family members have controlling ownership of many of the companies receiving contracts. While promoting the development of the dams, Chief Minister Taib simultaneously oversees the environmental board that is in charge of reviewing the projects for potentially harmful impacts.


    Malaysian government officials have also acknowledged the human rights concerns surrounding the dams. In 2011, after 10,000 indigenous people affected by the Bakun Dam had spent a decade of severe poverty in the resettlement town, the Prime Minister of Malaysia visited the community to promise more compensation. In 2009, the Malaysia Human Rights Commission identified several ongoing concerns with the Murum Dam that is now under construction. No official investigation has examined the next-in-line Baram Dam. However, over the past year, hundreds of indigenous people have actively spoken out against the project and the lack of meaningful consultations. Despite these concerns, the Sarawak government has not made public any information about the Murum’s or Baram Dam’s environmental and social impacts”.
    International Rivers takes up the cause of the Sarawak people and confronts Hydro-Tasmania on its denials of corporate responsibility

    In answer to the question whether Hydro-Tasmania’s role in all this is merely minor and should not be criticised the respected NGO says this:

    “As a consultant, does Hydro Tasmania have a responsibility to pay attention to human rights violations in the projects that it supports?


    According to the United Nations, the answer is unambiguously yes.


    In 2011, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which outline international standards for how companies are expected to act when faced with potential human rights violations in their operations… Hydro Tasmania has committed publicly in its Sustainability Code to follow international best practice, presumably including this one.


    It does not matter if the company only provides consulting services and is not the lead developer—it is still expected to conduct due diligence to ensure that it is not contributing to human rights violations. In a state such as Sarawak, where corruption is well-documented and deeply embedded at the highest levels of government, heightened due diligence is required before a company decides to engage.”

    Forced to admit further involvement
    Tasmanian Green MP Kim Booth has extracted information on Hydro-Tasmania’s activities in Sarawak.
    Furthermore, Hydro-Tasmania has just been forced to admit that its involvement in Sarawak’s dam projects is much more extensive and important that it has been attempting to make out.


    In response to a Freedom of Information request from a Tasmanian Green MP, Kim Booth, the company has acknowledged documents relating to its contracts with Sarawak, but it has denied access on commercial grounds.

    These contracts entail numerous key services, including advice on the design of key features of the Murum Dam, providing an assessment on “numerous contractual disputes” and, even more significantly, providing feasibility assessments on a number of locations to provide technical opinion on the most suitable locations for the next stages of Taib’s 12 projected new dams.


    Hydro-Tasmania is also providing feasibility studies for the two next hydro-electric projects in Belaga and Metjawah. Some of these services are laid out below:

    Access Denied! – although the disclosure of this information may be of public interest it may harm our business interests!

    So, when the evidence shows they are up to their necks in involvement with Sarawak’s dam projects what right has Hydro-Tasmania to claim their role has been ‘exaggerated”?

    Our man in Malaysia – Andrew Pattle is the Hydro-Tasmania employee on secondment in Sarawak acting as the Project Director on Murum, and Project Manager on the Baram and Baleh Dams.

    And since they have been involved in so many feasibility studies, on what grounds are these studies, which should be made publicly available in line with good practice, being kept secret?


    According to their own refusals, Hydro-Tasmania accept that the release of these documents would be in the public interest, but say that it may harm their business interests. Do profits for Australia come first and the lives of the local people and the future of the Borneo Jungle come second?


    Sarawak Report questions how is it that Hydro-Tasmania has the brass neck to claim that it maintains the highest benchmark of standards on social and corporate responsibility when feasibility studies that should be made public are kept private?


    The PKR leader and State Assemblyman Baru Bian, who has championed native rights for decades as a leading lawyer, has also written to challenge the decision by SBS to apologise for the show. Theletter head on Bian’s letter quotes an illustrative proverb from the Bible:

    “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream” Amos 5:24

    Hydro-Tasmania can send in their lawyers all over again. But now this story has sprung its first leak, like the proverb says, their arguments may be washed away in a torrent of truth!

    Download Baru Bian’s letter.
    py

  6. #16
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    GENOCIDE ! – Murum’s Secret “Resettlement Action Plan” Revealed – EXCLUSIVE EXPOSE

    Admin: Taib could not have done this alone. The contractors, consultants and politicians who took part in this heartless scheme must go to jail.

    28 Sep 2012
    Sarawak Energy – keep off our lands! The desperation of the Penan people who have lost their hunting grounds and are starving
    We can disclose that shocking revelations from a leaked report are what lie behind the massive road block at the Murum Dam site, where scores of lorries have been brought to a grinding halt by Penan tribespeople.


    The impoverished hunter-gatherers mounted the desperate protest in response to learning key details of the resettlement and compensation plans, drawn up by the Government for when their homes are soon flooded by rising waters.


    The plans were disgracefully kept secret until they were leaked to Sarawak Report earlier this week.


    The secrecy was in defiance of international protocols, which require full consultation and disclosure to affected peoples before construction even begins.


    Murum itself was of course also kept secret during the first two years of the dam’s construction, during which time Taib ravaged the jungle and blew tunnels through a sacred mountain area without permission.


    But even now that this disgraceful project is in the open, our exclusive copy of the so-called “Resettlement Action Plan” for the native Western Penan shows that promises of fair and decent compensation amount to nothing less than the systematic ethnic genocide of these ancient hunter-gatherers.


    Brought to a standstill. The convoys of lorries pounding rocks and cement into the Murum river have been challenged by the ancient inhabitants of these lands.
    Systematic Ethnic Genocide


    Our leaked copy of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) shows that the proposals do NOT represent anything like fair compensation for the displaced hunter-gatherer communities who have lived in the Murum territories for generations and who have lost their jungles and livelihoods to logging, oil palm and soon floodwaters.
    “For the sake of our livelihoods, land, forests and heritage we demand our rights”!

    Under the RAP the Penan are due to be removed into isolated, inadequate locations on the fringes of oil palm plantations, where they have little hope of survival from farming.


    Just as disgracefully the proposed level of compensation consists of a monthly allowance which falls far below poverty levels even in Sarawak!


    This state assistance of just RM500 per family will run out after just 4 years!


    One Sarawak academic expert, who declined to be named, told Sarawak Report after reading through the leaked document:


    “This Resettlement Plan amounts to a total and deliberate genocide of the Western Penan. The only way that individuals can hope to survive this treatment is to make their way to the outskirts of towns like Miri and live off the rubbish heaps. The effect will be the total obliteration of these people and their cultural heritage, along with their environment. Their communities will be wiped out. It seems that this is what Taib wants so that people do not stand in the way of his plans to destroy the jungle and ‘develop’ the state”
    Sham exercise! – We release the documents


    Desperate – Penan families are camping by the roadside in their campaign for survival
    Despite its destructive impact, the 168 page Resettlement Action Plan document, which was drawn up for the State Government by the local company Chemsain Konsultant Sdn Bhd, attempts to assume the language of legitimacy and to acknowledge international protocols.


    This is presumably in order to give the impression that proper consultation has taken place and legitimate compensation has been proposed.


    However, in practice it clear to see that this exercise is a sham. The angry reaction of the affected Penan has shown why


    Because, despite the many promises in the report, there has been no disclosure, no consultation, no training and advice, no schools, no medical care, no maternity care, no improvement of living standards and no compensation or alternative sources of income for the Penan:


    “They told me the dam is almost complete and they are in the dark about what is to happen to them. They don’t know what is going on and are just waiting for the water to flood them” explained an observer who travelled to the area for Sarawak Report this week.

    Left on the sidelines – the lorries represent a billion dollar development programme which has destroyed these people’s lands. They have received nothing so far and stand to gain nothing from the destruction of their hunting grounds and rivers
    New ‘farm lands’ already taken for oil palm !

    One key weakness in the plans , for example, is the leaked claim that each Penan family will be given a minimum of 14 hectares of farming land in the resettlement area and proper agricultural training to assist them in the transformation from hunter-gatherers into growing their own food:


    “The MDHEP reservoir will inundate virtually all the community agriculture land…Thus, it is estimated that a household requires at least 14 hectares of land for food production and cash crop planting, with 6-8 hectares of land for swidden cultivation of hill rice and the rest for the other crops”.[4.2.4 Resettlement Action Plan - leaked document]

    However, maps already show that the poor quality lands that have been chosen for the two so-called resettlement zones of Tengulan and Metalun have already been taken over by oil palm plantations!

    These areas are already being logged by companies such as Samling and Shin Yan and the “resettlement areas’ clash with plantation concessions handed out by Taib to various plantation companies!

    Classic Sarawak situation – the same land gets handed out to two concerns. Up against the palm plantations will the Penan have any chance of winning?

    One community whom officials took up to see the proposed site have refused to be moved there:


    “It is just yellow earth and already bulldozed flat by the oil palm people who have started to plant already. How can we live there? We need our jungle. This area is already given to oil palm” they told the Sarawak Report representative this week.

    Neither have the claims made in the RAP that each family will be given adequate agricultural training been carried out, despite the fact that the dam, which has been under construction for over 5 years is now on the point of being flooded:


    “The say they don’t know what is going on, they don’t know how to plant things, they have had no agricultural training, nothing” says our investigator, “They were only told they have to move up river. They still want to hunt, they have just learnt how to plant rice, but they depend on food from the jungle. They are very angry because the jungle is almost gone”
    Compensation of just RM500 per family per month runs out after 4 years!
    T
    his state of affairs is worrying enough, however it is the outrageous financial settlement that has most incensed the Penan who have been waiting for years to hear how much value the state will put on the destruction of their hunting grounds, their forest products and their way of life. The Action Plan claims there has been full consultation on this matter:


    “The RAP has been prepared in consultation with the communities and with public disclosure of the decisions and agreements reached between the government and affected communities and is consistent with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Handbook on Preparing a Resettlement Action Plan.”[1:2 RAP Leaked RAP Report]
    Families try to take refuge from the sun as they camp out on the blockade

    Yet our reporter who visited many longhouses found that until he unveiled the plans in the report the Penan had no idea whether they would be compensated or not.


    According to the schedule of planned compensation each re-located family will be entitled to just RM850 a month to get them started in their new farming professions.


    This is the lowest official poverty threshold for Sarawak, lower even than in mainland Malaysia where the cost of living is less!


    However this compensation is scheduled to last just two years as the tribes attempt to start growing their crops on the land they have been allocated (which is already being planted by the oil palm companies who have likewise been allocated the same lands).


    After this the state assistance per family will be reduced to a pitiful RM500 per month for a further two years.

    Bare minimum – miserable compensation levels for families force to uproot their lives and learn to be farmers in the middle of nowhere

    After four years of this beggarly income, The Chief Minister of Sarawak (who has made himself Malaysia’s richest man out of razing the jungle belonging to the Penan and other tribes) has decided that the state assistance should cease!


    No alternative!
    Taib’s crony company Shin Yang has been making a fortune logging out the Murum jungle. But while they and the Chief Minister get rich from the ‘progress and development” the Penan have starved.

    This desperate situation is one where the indigenous people of this area for generations have been given no alternative and no choice.


    This is in spite of claims in the Resettlement Action Plan that the Sarawak Government and Sarawak Energy have abided by all the international protocols and human rights provisions laid out by the United Nations, World Bank and International Finance Corporation Standards.


    One of the most damning statements repeated in this RAP report is the admission that:


    “During the preparation of this SIA [Social Impact Assessment], no project alternatives were considered because the construction of MDHEP had already commenced at the time of the report writing.” [2.2 Project Alternatives - Murum RAP Report]

    Taib’s pernicious strategy of starting the project in complete secrecy, ripping out the jungle and blowing tunnels through mountains without any environmental or social impact assessments, has thus enabled him to avoid the inevitable uproar that would have occurred if he had warned the Penan and the outside world about what he was planning to do.


    Now he says there is no alternative for the Penan people. And yet the RAP has dared to claim that the project is being carried out under established, legitimate procedures!

    Voluntary?! – The report claims that best practice has been followed in the management of this process, including consultation and disclosure to the communities. Yet this is not true. Worse nothing has been done towards the ‘goals’ on poverty eradication, education, maternal health or anything else. The Penan say they have been left to starve in their dying forests throughout the period of the Murum Dam project so far.
    Promises of development versus the reality of poverty and theft

    Idealistic statements in the RAP (see above) present positive promises towards the Penan by a generous state in return for the surrender of their forests and way of life. However, our reporter concluded that these gentle people have every good reason for their mistrust the government of Taib Mahmud:


    Taib made the same promises of ‘progress and development’ when he first destroyed the forests through logging. However, thirty years later the Penan have seen no benefit at all from the removal of their timber. Indeed, whereas they once had plentiful food and forest products off which to survive, they are now starving with little forest left and with no more fish in the rivers.


    It is Taib Mahmud who has reaped the benefit, becoming Malaysia’s richest man thanks to timber kickbacks!

    Progress and development? This is what logging has done for the Penan
    Our reporter collected some statements from the Penan about the problems caused by Taib Mahmud and his logging and oil palm obsessions:


    “For years we have asked for schools for our children, but they have sent no teachers.” ”Our women give birth without help and often they or their children die.” “We have no medicine.” ”We find it hard to find food now that the jungle is destroyed”. “Our women used to make baskets and mats to sell, but now there is not rotan to collect, because there is no jungle left. We site idle and we can make no money”
    All of these issues are acknowledged in the secret Resettlement Action Plan report, which paints an accurate picture of the desperate plight of the starving Penan. Anyone but perhaps the Chief Minister of Sarawak would be shamed by the desperate livelihoods recorded in the report such as below:

    Appendix Seven: day-to-day accounts from a few households:


    Household 1: a nuclear family living in an apartment by themselves. The wife was 8 months pregnant at the time; the children were less than 7 years old.

    16/10 Sold fruits for MR40. Bought rice, cooking oil, chicken
    17/10 Ate rice and cassava leaves. Then made MR20 from selling durian, bought chicken and instant noodles
    18/10 Asked for rice and cooking oil from the wife’s sister’s household; ate fish
    20/10 Ate rice, fruits, ferns. Asked for salt and ajinomoto (giver unknown)
    22/10 Made MR30 from selling parang; ate rice with bought chicken and fish
    23/10 Ate rice and cassava leaves, asked for cooking oil from Pengulu Pao
    24/10 Drank coffee only

    Household 2: young family, the husband actively working for the timber trader. They share an apartment with multiple other households. This was the household most appearing in others’ accounts as a source of food items

    16/10 Ate cassava leaves
    17/10 Made MR200 from timber; ate rice with bought fish; gave cooking oil to two other households
    18/10 Sold durians for MR20; ate rice with bought vegetables
    19/10 Ate rice with fish and cassava leaves; gave rice and cooking oil to two other households; then earned MR50 from the timber; bought rice, cooking oil, and fish
    20/10 Another household got cassava leaves from them; they were not interviewed.
    22/10 Earned MR100 from the timber; ate rice with bought chicken, coffee, and sugar
    23/10 Ate rice with fruits, cassava leaves, coffee; two households got cooking oil, salt and ajinomoto from them
    24/10 Claimed coffee as their only food for the day; gave coffee and sugar to another household

    Household 3: middle-aged couple living with their daughter; shares an apartment with two other households, one of whom is old and the other young.

    16/10 Ate cassava leaves (presumably with rice, though not reported so); gave rice to an in-law
    17/10 Ate rice, cassava, sago pith; asked Household 2 for cooking oil
    18/10 Sold cassava and ferns (undisclosed sums); ate rice with bought chicken and cooking oil
    19/10 Sold rambutans for MR30; bought rice, cooking oil, fish.
    22/10 Sold durians for MR10; ate rice with bought instant noodles
    23/10 Asked for rice from another household; ate that with ferns; gave cooking oil, salt, and/or ajinomoto to three other households
    24/10 Ate rice and cassava leaves; asked for coffee and sugar from another household; gave cooking oil to an in-law
    Household 4: middle-aged couple with many children. They share an apartment with young children and 4 other households, including the husband’s father.


    16/10 Ate rice with ferns
    17/10 Made MR20 from selling fish; ate rice mixed with sugar, no vegetables. Later they harvested some cassava and ate that with rice
    18/10 Ate rice and cassava leaves
    19/10 Ate rice, kangkong, and rambutans. Then sold cocoa pods in Asap, made MR50. Used it to buy chicken and rice
    20/10 Ate rice and fish
    21/10 Again ate rice and fish.
    22/10 Ate rice, bought fish and cooking condiments with the MR30 made from selling durian.
    23/10 Made MR20 from selling durian. Ate rice and cassava leaves, and then rice and fish. Got some cooking oil from another household.
    24/10 Made MR30 from selling fish. Ate rice and vegetables then got coffee and sugar from Household 2.
    Promises Sarawak-style. BN promised the Penan a new longhouse after a fire. Years later it has never been finished.

    The reporter from Sarawak Report who visited these communities this week discovered that they were too impoverished to offer any food to their visitors, who went hungry for 3 days.


    The Sarawak Government has made promises to help the Penan as part of the Murum resettlement, however during the 5 years of construction these people have been merely left to slowly starve as their forests have been replaced with oil palm.


    What right has Taib Mahmud to expect anyone to trust that he will help them now or help any of the other natives of Sarawak whom he plans to displace through his further dams?


    Meanwhile, Sarawak Report demands a response from the State Government of Tasmania, whose former Senior Advisor to the Department of Energy, Nick Wright, is now the Vice-President of Sarawak Energy, in charge of Corporate and Social Responsibility (including Resettlement Plans).


    Nick Wright the new Tasmanian SEB Vice-President, in charge of Corporate and Social Responsibility (including resettlement plans), must now accept responsibility for the on-going starvation and distress suffered by the Penan at Murum
    Why has their state-owned concern, Hydro-Tasmania, which is now in partnership with SEBimplementing the SCORE dam projects in Sarawak, allowed such a disgraceful neglect of basic standards of consultation, transparency and social and environmental responsibility in its dealings in Sarawak?


    Sarawak Reort will shortly be releasing the full Murum Resettlement Action Plan in the interests of proper disclosure, including further exclusive revelations about Taib’s plans for SCORE.
    Zunar – Malaysia’s radical cartoonist depicted Taib this week as a man who has become the country’s richest billionaire – resting on the skulls of the people he has exploited
    py

  7. #17
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    Has Taib Crossed A Line?

    Taib can no longer claim possession of the concept of development. People know there is more than one way.

    Hundreds rallied in different cities across Sarawak this week to mark International Human Rights Day.
    The show of colour and the peaceful nature of the protest were both very typical.



    But, if strongman Taib Mahmud still bothers about what his people think, it should have worried him.
    Because, these were rural folk.


    As past elections have fully demonstrated, Taib has already completely lost the support of the townships in Sarawak. Those seats went in 2011 and they did not come back in 2013.


    The potentate, who is making plans to shift his power into the Governor’s palace and set someone else in the firing line as Chief Minister, already lives surrounded by people who hate his corruption and who vote against him.
    Yet the people who dared to march on Human Rights Day had come into the towns from indigenous areas. If these communities are also deciding that enough is enough, then Taib is cooked, Governor’s Palace or no.
    Rural flavour was pronounced in these marches. People had made the effort to get in from all over Sarawak


    Enough is enough?


    Sarawak provides an exaggerated form of the wider Malaysian electoral corruption and gerrymandering.


    A small number of vast urban seats contain tens of thousands of electors, while scores of rural seats have just a few hundred voters, whom Taib’s agents make sure to keep poor and then bribe and blackmail into ‘doing the right thing’ on election day.


    Kroni – The dams are associated with corruption

    So far they have tended to cooperate, not least because ‘trouble-maker’ communities have found it almost impossible to register as voters, thanks to BN’s abuse of power.


    It is also well known that change generally comes last to rural areas.


    Isolated communities are slower to embrace the new ideas around them, especially if they are vulnerable and poor, with mainly older voters.
    But, usually they get there, if it is in their interests.
    And with his determination to displace tens of thousands with his hydro-power ambitions Taib may well have crossed a line that will end their loyalty.


    The Chief Minister/ Governor-In-Waiting ought to be wondering if these unprecedented demonstrations were a sign that the political change that has already arrived in urban areas are catching on elsewhere?


    Protest in Baram as well

    Perhaps he thinks it doesn’t matter. That rural folk can vote how they like, but he will always record the result he wants? (His family newspaper, The Tribune, reported on rallies inCambodia not back home in Kuching).


    But, if his actions are forcing these people on to the streets, such arrogance starts to betray a complacent attitude. The attitude of an old man too used to having things his way for far too long.


    Pushing too far?


    Taib has brought roaring change to Sarawak, mainly to make money for himself. But, it is not the kind of change that has been good for most people.
    The timber and much of the native land has already gone to plantations. But, now the CM is going a step further. He is destroying the rivers and uprooting thousands so that he can start massive industries manned by foreign workers, the so-called SCORE hydro-power programme.


    A thousand statements spell the same message – Taib has gone too far

    This is the sort of disruption that even the most inward looking rural communities cannot ignore.
    And the examples of the past victims of Taib’s dam building are there to inspire fear not envy – all those communities are complaining about the negative impact and the broken promises.
    Is Taib too old to realise how these days news travels?


    BN agents may cajole the headmen. BN newspapers, TV and radio may promote ‘SCORE’ with endless positive spin, but the opposite message is now reaching concerned communities in Baram and Baleh and beyond, especially from the towns, where the the opposition parties now have their base.


    DAP and PKR and NGOs are pointing out that Taib’s unpopular plans to “modernise” them by destroying their lives do not have the support of the rest of the world, because they violate human rights.


    Each banner proclaims a new awareness amongst Sarawak’s rural folk. They have started to understand their rights.

    They are informing rural people that BN’s methods do not come up to scratch against expected norms.
    They add that communities should be consulted, compensated and treated as equal if not superior decision makers in these plans to change their lives.
    And naturally, worried rural folk are tending to agree.


    In a statement on 26th November leaders from Baram protested against the state government’s constant jibe that their resistance to the dam projects is purely the consequence of ‘orchestration’ by foreign NGOs.


    They pointed out they are perfectly capable of working out their own best interests, but that they welcome the support of sympathetic organisations:


    “We will do our utmost and exhaust every appropriate channels to assert and defend our rights to our homeland, our source of livelihood, our rights and our future. We also welcome every form of support from all concerned individuals, NGOs, governments, political parties and agencies.


    We have our own intelligence and capacity to think and decide for ourselves and our future. We are also fully aware that we have rights to our customary lands, territories and resources. We have rights to determine the kind of development that we regard as appropriate and that which meaningfully benefit us. We need development to improve and to uplift our standard of living, that diversify our present socio-economic activities but not a project that forcibly displace and uproot us from our homelands, gardens, farmlands, resources. That is not development. That is destruction and elimination.


    We act with our clear conscience and we do not allow ourselves to be used as tools.”
    This statement, signed by several rural leaders in Baram, showed very considerable awareness on the part of rural folk. Doesn’t this worry Taib at all?


    In fact the statement goes on to mock Taib himself for being the one in the thrall of foreigners, by pointing out his dependence on outsiders, like the highly paid Torstein Dale Sjotveit, to implement his grandiose hydro-power schemes.


    Next stop, voting for the opposition?


    Sarawak’s ‘governance deficit’


    Another important report was released at the end of last month by the NGO Sabahat Alam Malaysia (affiliated to Friends of the Earth) pointing out the ”continued failure of the country to introduce the necessary reforms to its policies and legislation in order to ensure that they are aligned with judicial decisions” with respect to native rights.


    Simple but powerful.

    It is a reminder that the Chief Minister has already lost the argument over his land ‘reforms”, even though he is now taking on tens of thousands more rural people to force through his dam projects.
    Time and again the courts in Malaysia have found that the State Government and its leader Taib, have acted illegally in appropriating the timber and native customary lands of indigenous peoples, without so much as a by your leave.


    Sabahat Alam Malaysia (SAM) points out that, given the failure of the state and the federal government to respond to the decisions of the courts, the legality of all logging and plantation licences in Sarawak are held to question:


    “Despite an array of judicial decisions on the indigenous customary land rights/title over the last two decades, the executive machinery at both the state and federal levels in Malaysia have continued to operate in the same manner as it had before – issuing licences for logging, plantation and other resource extractive activities without prior consultations, disregarding the authority of pre-existing traditional laws and customs of the people, from which inherited claims of rights on customary land are rooted.

    Some of these decisions, have very wide-ranging legal implications on existing policies and statutes. Ultimately, the failure to implement these decisions is a failure in good governance and a failure to live up to the doctrine of separation of powers in democratic governance.”[SAM position paper on judicial decisions]
    Has Taib pushed the rural folk too far?

    Numerous native communities, who have won their cases in court have yet to receive any satisfaction in terms of seeing their victories reflected in improved behaviour on the part of their State Government.
    The Chief Minister has just carried on handing out licences as before, ignoring traditional native rights.
    All over Sarawak people are beginning to get the message that Taib’s mode of government is as old and outdated as he is and if he refuses to listen there will be more marches for change.
    Then change may very well come.
    py

  8. #18
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    BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL / SWITZERLAND

    23 September 2015 – for immediate release


    VICTORY: Moratorium on the Baram Dam in Malaysia

    After two years of blocking all work on the proposed Baram Dam in Malaysia, the indigenous peoples have scored a major victory: the state government has announced a moratorium on the controversial dam and an evaluation of small-scale energy alternatives.

    (KUCHING / SARAWAK / MALAYSIA) The Chief Minister of Sarawak, a Malaysian state on Borneo, has publicly announced a moratorium on the controversial Baram Dam. This is a great victory for the indigenous communities that have been struggling to defend their traditional land. For the last two years, they have been manning two blockades and have successfully stopped all work in the area.

    It has been in the news for a while that Sarawak’s new Chief Minister Adenan Satem has been rethinking the proposed 12-dam series under the industrialization programme Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). It is, however, the first time that Adenan has personally commented in the media. In the interview on Malaysian TV3, Adenan last week said: “I have shelved the Baram Dam for the time being. Now we have Batang Ai, Bakun, Murum [dams]. At this juncture, it is enough. We are now determining our future needs for electric power […]. There is a moratorium on Baram,“ (translated from Bahasa Malaysia). He added that he wants to look into small-scale energy options such as solar power and micro-hydropower.

    The indigenous peoples of Baram are treating the news with caution. Peter Kallang, chairman of SAVE Rivers, the grassroots network fighting Sarawak’s dam initiative, commented: “While the people are really glad to hear that there is a moratorium on the Baram-1 HEP dam project, the great sense of anxiety is still there. This is due, firstly, to the status of their native lands which are already gazetted for construction of the dam. Secondly, it is because of the ongoing logging activities being carried out with valid […] permits issued by the government in anticipation of the dam.”

    Over the last few months, there have been indications of a change in government policy regarding the proposed dam series. In June, Adenan received a delegation of dam critics led by professor Daniel M. Kammen from the University of California, Berkeley, and SAVE Rivers Chairman, Peter Kallang. Adenan promised to hear the affected people first, before taking any decision on the proposed Baram Dam. Professor Kammen’s team has been evaluating the potential of clean energy solutions for the state and, at Adenan's request, they developed a proposal to work on clean energy options as alternatives to the proposed dams.

    The Bruno Manser Fund welcomes Adenan’s decision to impose a moratorium on the Baram Dam and asks the government to quickly follow this up with action in order to boost confidence in the policy turnaround. The Bruno Manser Fund is demanding:
    1) A prompt launch of collaboration with the Berkeley team to find an alternative energy path for Sarawak;
    2) A moratorium on logging in the proposed Baram reservoir area;
    3) A meeting with the affected Baram people to hear their voices as promised.



    The three studies of the University of California, Berkeley:

    Kitzes, Justin and Shirley, Rebekah (2015). “Estimating biodiversity impacts without field surveys: A case study in northern Borneo”, Ambio.

    Shirley, Rebekah and Kammen, Daniel (2015). “Kampung Capacity: Assessing the Potential for Distributed Energy Resources to Satisfy Local Demand in East Malaysia.”, RAEL.

    Shirley, Rebekah and Kammen, Daniel (2015). “Energy planning and development in Malaysian Borneo: Assessing the benefits of distributed technologies versus large scale energy mega projects”, Energy Strategy Reviews.

    https://rael.berkeley.edu/project/su...sarawak-sabah/




    Bruno Manser Fonds Socinstrasse 37 4051 Basel Switzerland www.bmf.ch
    py

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