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Penans want Najib, IGP to intervene in Murum

 | November 20, 2013

The Penans have hit a stalemate on their negotiations with state government and the Murum Dam main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) over compensation and resettlement issues.

KUALA LUMPUR: Thirteen members of the Penan tribe in Murum, Sarawak travelled all the way to Bukit Aman today to handover a memorandum to the Inspector General of Police demanding that the police “stop immediately any intimidation and provocation” towards the Penans who have erected bloackades at the Murun dam site

The group,  who were accompanied by their lawyer Abun Sui Anyit, is demanding that the IGP direct his officers “to stop”.

The Penans have hit a stalemate on their negotiations with state government and the Murum Dam main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) over compensation and resettlement issues.

Following this the native community began mounting blockades from September and late last month they concertedly chased away SEB workers from the site locking down the site and bringing work to a standstill.

On Nov 7 police arrested 10 protestors including two teenagers, aged 13 and 16, who were arrested for taking pictures and videos of the arrest.

The protestors have also since been deprived of food, water and medicine.

Speaking to FMT today, Penan villager Along Ajang urged the IGP to intervene on humanitarian grounds

“The police must not take sides. They must be nuetral.

“We have done nothing wrong. We are only fighting for our rights and proper compensation.

“They must allow food,water, medicine , health and social workers and reporters to go into the area, ” he said reading the demands listed.

Najib must step in

Ajang said they also wanted all charges against the 10 Penan protestors who were arrested on Nov 7 to be dropped.

He claimed the police had abused their power by firing at the crowd and threatening to take criminal action under section 143 and 147 of the Penal Code.

“They arrested us and now we have to attend court next week. The police are intimidating and bullying the Penans,” he said adding that he hoped the “from the memorandum the IGP will educate the police on human rights.”

After handing over the memorandum, the group moved on to Parliament where they handed their second memorandum this time seeking just compensation.

Save Rivers, a coalition of Sarawak based  indigenous groups, in  statement today said that their demands “have been and still are the same”.

The 1,500 Penans from the seven affected villages would be uprooted from their ancestral land following the inundation of the 944MV Murum Dam.

The natives are seeking in compensation 30,000 ha of land as communal forest for the villagers,  RM 500,000 per family, RM3,000 per household per month, 25ha of land per household,  and a royalty of 10% of electricity generated from the Murum hydropower dam.

Whilst the state government had promised to meet their demands, thus far they have only received between RM10,000 to RM15,000 each along with ‘poor quality’ houses in Tegulang resettlement.

Three villages have already been moved to the settlement because their house were indundated following the commencement of the impoundment.

Save Rivers chairman Peter Kallang who accompanied the group in parliament said that he hoped  Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will intervene and respond to recommendations listed in the Suhakam Report on the National Inquiry Lands Rights of Indigenous People 2013.

The report calls for the

1.Recognition of indigenous customary lands

2.Remedy for loss of customary lands.

3.The need to adress land development issues and imbalances

4.Prevention of future loss of customary lands

5.The need to address land administration issues

6.Recognition of land as central to the identity of Indigenous People.


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