Sunday, September 19

‘Baram protests driven by native rights, environmental issues’

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MIRI: The state government should not see the anti-logging and anti-mega dam movements in Baram as anti-government; instead, they should be viewed as a medium which is helping to create awareness about various social and environmental issues affecting the local community.

In a statement here yesterday, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Baram chairman Roland Engan said native rights have been ignored by the government and that all the protests were driven by natives’ awareness of their deprivation of rights.

He asserted that these movements and non-governmental organisations, such as Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) who have been

actively involved with the community in Baram did not receive any foreign funding as claimed by certain parties.

Roland was responding to Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau’s statement that he suspected SAVE Rivers received backing from international NGOs to conduct their anti-logging and anti-dam activities over last few years.

In the article which was published on Saturday, Dennis said because Baram is a hotbed for anti-government activities, all development in the constituency had to come to a standstill and initiatives to provide better roads and other necessities had not been able to be implemented.

“Billionaire George Soros is a stranger to Baram people. He has never promised development projects and never preached politics of development in Sarawak; therefore, he (Dennis) should never use Soros as an

excuse not to develop Baram,” Roland argued.

He emphasised that SAVE Rivers had made tremendous contributions to the native people, especially in Baram, which has helped the community to better understand their rights.