Ignorance leads to resentment

Masing says lack of understanding cause of Penans’ hostility towards Murum Dam, calls for more dialogue

KUCHING: The state government will explain in greater details to the Penan community affected by the construction of the Murum hydro-electric dam in Kapit Division so that they will understand the benefits of the project.

Land Development Minister Tan Sri James Masing stressed that there was a need for better communication between the implementers of the project and the people at the grassroots.

“I have made a recommendation to the steering committee to include Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage Liwan Lagang to be part of the team which oversees the implementation of the project.

“Liwan has vast experience working with the Penans in Murum even before he joined politics.

“My recommendation to the steering committee is that we need to have a better communication system so that any change that we make must be for the better,” Masing told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

Masing pointed out that the Penan in Murum were not against the project per se but they were unhappy with some of the things which were implemented without being properly informed.

“And they did make the blockage last week as they were also instigated by some NGOs, especially from Miri,” he said when commenting on a report by a news portal last week that the Penans in Murum had staged a blockade to the site.

To get a clearer picture of the situation in Murum, Masing called both Kapit Resident Dahim Nadot and Belaga District Officer Halim Abdullah to his office yesterday morning to update him on the latest happenings on the ground.

“We are duty bound to tell the people what we are doing and what benefits they will get from the project.”

Murum Dam is the second mega-dam project after the Bakun Dam. It is located about 70km upriver from Bakun Dam which started transmitting power on Aug 6, 2012.

The Murum HEP project is progressing well and has a power generating capacity of 944 MW. Work on the project commenced on Oct 1, 2008.

The whole project is expected to be completed by end of next year.

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