Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Penans submitted memorandum to Prime Minister on Murum dam.

Murum, Belaga: The Pelieran-Murum Penan Affairs Committee (Pemupa) has submitted a ten-point (10) demands in an Open Memorandum to the Malaysian Prime Minister YAB Dato Seri Najib Razak to act on their issues, problems and demands with regard to the on-going construction of Murum hydroelectric power (HEP) dam project.

Surang (left) with village Chief Asan shows the Memorandum
to be submitted to Prime Minister.
Surang Alung, the Chairman of PEMUPA stated that the memorandum presented a list of the Penan demands, among others are compensations, rights to lands and forest areas and the 10% royalty on energy generated from Murum dam. “This demand is minimal, the very least  that we submit to the government as compare to our invaluable livelihood, properties, large tract of customary lands and forest that are going to  vanish by the dam”, he added.

The Open Memorandum was mutually resolved and passed by about 300 Penans during a community meeting held on 25th September at Long Jaik village. The meeting was participated by Village Chiefs and representatives of Penan villages from Long Wat, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu, Long Malim, Long Jaik and Long Umpa.
The memorandum, written in Bahasa Melayu was endorsed by PEMUPA. It was sent through express courier and facsimile to the office of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Sarawak. The Penans urge the two top government leaders to act immeadiately on their demands upon received the memorandum.

At meantime, the Penans are still putting up their blockade on the Murum dam access road and their number has multiplied from 200 to 320 people since they started protesting on 26th September.  

Murum Hydroelectric project is a mega dam built on the Murum River by Sarawak Energy Berhad, a company owned by the State government of Sarawak. The construction of the dam was awarded to China’s Three Gorges Project Corporation for an estimated cost of RM3 billion (875 million USD). The construction work of on the dam started prior to the approval of environmental impact assessment (EIA) report and without any social and environmental impact assessment (SEIA) being carried out. Murum hydroelectric dam has an energy capacity of 944MW, which is about 75% completed.

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