October 13, 2012

Penan blockade to stop mega dam

penanlr.jpgPenan tribe blockade road leading to the Murum dam

Sarawak’s Penan tribe continue to protect their rainforest home by blockading the road leading to the Murum dam, insisting they will not leave until a fair settlement is reached.  Madai Salo,  a Penan leader, said, ‘Our word has been manipulated by the government and the ministers, we never said we’d support the dam, we never asked for the dam, we never supported the dam’.


Furthermore, leaked plans to resettle Malaysia’s Penan have surfaced and anger is growing within the tribe, which says it has been ‘cheated’ by the Sarawak government as it makes way for the dam.  Thes say they have been kept in ‘complete darkness’ about the resettlement plans, despite the dam’s construction starting four years ago.

In the blockade by hundreds of Sarawak’s Penan tribe on the road leading to the controversial Murum Dam they hold placards saying, ‘We Want Justice’, ‘We Demand our Rights’ and ‘Stop Murum Dam’.  The protest has left cement tankers and construction equipment stranded at the roadside.  If finished next year, the Murum dam would flood the Penan’s ancestral lands. Around 1,300 Penan have been told they must evacuate to make way for the first of 12 new dams that are planned across the Malaysian state of Sarawak.


The Penan’s blockade, which consists of men, women and children from the eight affected Penan communities, began on September 26th. Some are sleeping in an abandoned company workshop, whilst others have made temporary Penan huts, known as sulaps, at the roadside.

Source: Survival International


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