MIRI: Commendation is in place for the professional reporting by the Borneo Post team BAT IV . SAVE Rivers is really impressed by the articles they wrote especially the one for Long San, regarding the proposed dam, as published in the dailies on the 19th , 20th and 21st of July. Having visited all the villages in Baram which could be flooded by the proposed Baram dam, SAVE Rivers found that the articles were objective and a true reflection of the realities in the district. Although the people’s opinion of the proposed Baram dam is divided, it is obvious that there are more people who are against the dam than very small minorities who are supporting it. There are valid reasons why there are so much opposition to the dam. But the proponents’ dream that the construction of the Baram will benefit those who are directly affected cannot be proven. This could be easily confirmed by what happens to those affected by the three hydroelectric dams already built in Sarawak.
In proving the unfair treatment of those who are forced out from their homes to make way for the hydroelectric dams in Sarawak one just have to visit, see and listen to those who are now living in Batang Ai, Sungai Asap, Tegulang and Metalun. In so many ways the lives of those who are moved to the resettlement area are a lot worse than before they moved. They also have myriads of complaints on unfulfilled promises and horrible deals. Recently SUHAKAM, the Human Right Commission of Malaysia had visited Tegulang and made a report on the unfulfilled promises made to those who were resettled there. Similar studies were also made on Sungai Asap Resettlement are by the Malaysian Human Right Watch in 2009. The discoveries by SUHAKAM are appalling.
So in order to let the people know what could happen to them if they are forced to move in making way for the dam, the Baram folks have been visiting the existing resettlement areas. Four of such visits have been organised. The recent visit was from the 13th to the 14th of July where a group of one hundred and seventy Baram villagers joined. For those who have join these visits they now know what it is like if they are forced out of their present land and homes to live at the resettlement areas.
We encourage more dailies to be more transparent and balance in their reporting to promote freedom of speech which is necessary in providing check and balance in a democratic society. At the same time we would like Sarawak Energy Bhd to stop misleading the people by going for a tour of China part of which is said to see the Three Gorges Dams. Using the Three Gorges selective tour as advertisement for dams to be built in Sarawak is a blatant deceptive act to advertise the horrible deeds to be committed here in Sarawak.