15 November 2010
By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: Furious residents in Baram are demanding an apology and a retraction from a Parti Persaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) councillor for saying that Baram folk were 'in favour' of the controversial Baram Hydro-elctric dam. PBB is led by Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
Dennis Ngau of Telang Usan must apologise for his misleading statement, said Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC) chairman Philip Jau.
“He must retract his statement and make a public apologise to the people of Baram as they are very angry with him, “said Jau.
Ngau had reportedly said that the people of Baram were supportive of the Baram dam project and that only the opposition and a few of non-governmental organisations were against the project.
His statement was published in The Borneo Post on Nov 5.
Said Jau: “BPAC regards the statement as misleading and unjustified and strongly urge the 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 Ngau which can mislead the government leaders, relevant authorities and the general public by saying that Baram people support the mega Baram dam project.
"In fact the vast majority of the (Baram) people are strongly against it and have demanded for it to be scrapped.
“Councillor Ngau has not visited each of the longhouses identified to be affected directly and indirectly by the project and has not consulted the villagers about their views towards the project.
“As far as the Baram people who reside along the main Baram River are concerned, there was no referendum conducted by the councillor on the people’s response towards the project.”
Jau said Ngau may chose to believe that his village situated along the Apoh River, away from the main Baram River would not be affected by the dam but the "fact is his village will be affected in other ways."
"Ngau’s statement reflects total disregard and disrespect for the basic and inherent rights of the people along the main Baram River 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 or articulate our views, concerns, and demands,” he said, accusing Ngau of condoning the government's ‘bulldozing tactic’ to bring so-called development to supposedly benefit Baram people.
“The construction of the dam does not bring development; it actually brings disaster. This is sheer insanity.” Jau warned.
He urged the government to put a stop to the dam in order to save Baram and its people.
“The government should think of the people first and profits later,” he said, calling on Baramites and Sarawakians to stand up for their rights.
Source: Free Malaysia Today