Campaigners claim over 9,000 signatures received against Baram Dam


MIRI: Campaigners against the proposed Baram Dam claimed they have collected more 9,000 signatures from the Baram people who are opposing the dam construction.

The campaigners comprised Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC) (who started the campaign in 2008), Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (Save Rivers) and others.

Save Rivers is a grassroots network of indigenous communities and civil organisations in Sarawak, working to protect human rights and stop destructive dams in Sarawak.

“With 9,000 signatures collected from those opposing the Baram dam, there is no doubt that the proposed dam is facing strong resistance from the majority of the people,” said TK James Nyurang a community leader from Baram.

Lah Jok from Long Liam in a joint press statement received here yesterday said the signatures too proved that Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu when welcoming the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Long Silat recently, could be misinformed when he said only three persons opposed the Baram dam.

“This remarks by Jabu could be the result of incorrect information from the irresponsible community leaders who are not speaking on behalf of the affected people,” said Lah.

Thus, he strongly supported the campaigners’ decision to resubmit the signatures including new ones to the state and federal authorities, including the Prime Minister and Chief Minister.

Save Rivers’ chairman Peter Kallang said, “We will request for a meeting of the Baram people with Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem where they will also hand over the signatures to him.

“We hope that this time the government will listen to the people’s voices. The date and detail of the meeting will be proposed by a meeting among the Baram people themselves.”

He said from the beginning, signatures had been sent in batches to both the state and federal authorities but so far no action had been taken.

They said the campaign was still on-going to ensure that the Baram people who were against the dam had the chance to participate in the campaign.

The campaign has received support from almost every village visited by the campaigners in the Baram – from Long Keseh (down river to the proposed site of the dam) and upriver to hulu Baram.