The Federation of Orang Ulu Association Malaysia (Forum) leaders are nothing but political lackeys of the Sarawak government, claim affected Baram dam folk.
MIRI: About 40 angry Baram folk, who are directly affected by the construction of the proposed Baram dam, want their community leaders to resign from their respective posts for not listening to the voices of the people.
The group have accused these leaders of toeing the political line with no concern for their community.
The Orang Ulu group headed by Stephen Satie and Dominic Langat, chairman of Village Security and Development Committee in Long Tungan made the call after a meeting here to discuss the latest statement issued by the Federation of Orang Ulu Association Malaysia (Forum) in local daily Borneo Post last week.
“We want our community leaders to listen to our voices and not just listen to the politicians.
“We put our trust in our community leaders to look after our rights and interests and it is their responsibility to look after the well being of their community.
“If they are not capable to carry out this responsibility and are only interested to carry out the orders of the politicians, then they must resign,” said the group.
The group was visibly upset with Orang Ulu leader Pahang Ding, Forum’s president Gerawat Gala and Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu for making sweeping statements insinuating that the community in Baram has collectively agreed with the proposed dam without first verifying with all the 26 longhouses that are going to be affected directly.
An angry Dorus Katan of Long Tap, one of the villages directly affected by the dam said: “We the people of Baram do not agree with this project.
“I wonder how Forum come to such conclusion when I, myself and my own community were not consulted.”
Michael Lahang of Long Julan, another village which is also directly affected, concurred with Katan.
“Pahang, Senator Lihan Jok, Gerawat Gala and Alfred Jabu do not represent us and the people who are directly affected.
“Who are they to talk about our interest? They are not even from the area affected but yet they are the ones making statements on behalf of us.
“They should not be making any decisions that affect our interest,” said an upset Lahang.
The project will displace more than 20,000 natives who need to be relocated elsewhere.
’21st century village’
Last Thursday Forum which claimed to represent nine ethnic groups dwelling mainly in the Baram district met with Jabu at the State Legislative Assembly informing him of the community’s support for the proposed Baram dam.
Leading the delegation, Pahang told Jabu that the people who initially were against the dam have now changed of hearts and supported the dam because they realise the dam would bring benefits to them.
Later meeting the media, Pahang said: “We see it as an opportunity for the people of the area and view it as a catalyst for rural transformation in Baram”.
In welcoming the decision of the Baram people to support the dam, Jabu said that the people had also agreed to only one committee headed by the Baram MP with Senator Jok as his deputy that would represent the population affected by the Baram dam.
Jabu said a 21st century village would be built near the Murum and Bakun area for those who would be displaced by the Baram dam.
“The proposed site located somewhere near the Usun Apau is actually near to the ancestral land of the Kenyah and Kayan communities.
“The government will look into other matters as well such as adequate compensation and improved livelihood and opportunities for the people,” he said.