Campaign Corner: A selection of press releases and short stories highlighting the various campaigns going on in Malaysia.

80 NGOs condemn Taib's dam plans

A blockade staged by unhappy villagers along the route to the Baram dam site.

A blockade staged by unhappy villagers along the route to the Baram dam site.

Malaysian Civil Society regards with great indignation the violation of Native Customary Rights of the Orang Asal (the Indigenous People) of Sarawak in the construction of hydroelectric power dams in Bakun, Murum and Baram, Sarawak.

The Violation of Native Rights

The Sarawak State Government under the administration of the Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has consistently and relentlessly violated the Rights of the Orang Asal in Sarawak by unlawful seizure of their Native Customary Lands; systemic deforestation through illegal logging; flooding of river valleys as a result the construction of three mega dams at Batang Ai, Bakun and Murum and the planned construction of another nine dams at Baram and other districts; illegal transplantation of the monoculture of oil palms onto vast areas of Native Customary Lands; the establishment of toxic, polluting and massive energy-consuming smelting industries in the industrial zones (SCORE) along the coast of Sarawak.

This systematic and disastrous environmental destruction has brought irreversible harm to the Orang Asal communities who have protected the pristine forests for their food, small farms, long houses, places of worship, churches and burial grounds. Their very existence and culture is dependent on their lands and the forest. Their land is their life.

The eviction of the Orang Asal from their lands has proven to be a cultural genocide. The forced relocation of the Orang Asal to Sungai Asap to make way for the construction of Bakun Dam had left the community destitute. The new settlement area is a part of oil palm plantations and is unsuitable for cultivation of hill rice and other crops. It is located far away from the forests. The schools and clinics demanded by the Orang Asal are lacking. The amenities are badly constructed and unhygienic. While the forced relocation is not unlike the setting up of “New Villages” during the Emergency Orders from 1948 to 1960 in Malaya, the living condition has been comparable to that of the refugee camps.

The Protection of Native Customary Lands (Blockade) at Murum, Sarawak

The Penan communities at Murum have started their third Protection/Blockade since 23 September 2013 as their demands for fair compensations have not been met by the Sarawak Government and its linked corporations. The entire communities including women and children have been camping under the warm sun and suffer the monsoon rain for the past six weeks to voice their protest.

The Protection of Native Customary Lands (Blockade) at Baram, Sarawak

The Orang Ulu communities of Baram had similarly started their Protection/Blockade on 23 October 2013 to stop further prospective and construction work on the planned Baram Dam. They had peacefully asked the workers at the Baram Dam project to leave. The Dam workers had complied and construction had come to a stand still. The eviction of the Dam workers had been conducted peacefully.

The Demands of the Malaysian Civil Society

The civil rights movement of the Orang Asal in Malaysia in general and that of the Orang Asal at Murum and Baram in particular is an inseparable part of the larger Malaysia Civil Society movement against injustices and oppression inflicted upon the Malaysian public as a whole. We hold in great indignation such injustices committed against us. The demands of the Orang Asal at Murum and Baram are therefore our own demands.

The Malaysian Civil Society demands that the Sarawak State Government and its linked corporations, contactors and agents:

1. To immediately stop the impoundment of Murum Dam and stop further arson against the long houses of the Penan community in Murum. That they enter into open and fair consultation with the Penan community without intimidation, force, corruption and manipulations to divide and split the community.

2. To immediately stop all work related to the survey and construction of the planned Baram Dam. That they enter into open and fair consultation with the community of Baram without intimidation, force, corruption and manipulation to divide and split the community.

The Malaysian Civil Society also demands:

3. That the Royal Police of Malaysia immediately end the Police road block to allow food, water, medical assistance, social workers and media reporters to freely enter Murum. That the Royal Police of Malaysia renders its utmost professional service to protect the Orang Asal in Murum and Baram who are exercising their Civil Rights granted and guaranteed under the Constitution of Malaysia to a peaceful life in Malaysia.

Issued by Damn the Dams Action Group and endorsed by the following Malaysian Civil Society organizations:

Aliran

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

ANGKATAN WARGA AMAN MALAYSIA (WargaAMAN)

Association of Women Lawyers

Ban Cyanide Action Committee, Raub, Pahang

Baramkini

Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC)

Bersih Sibu, Sarawak

Borneo Resources Institute, Malaysia (BRIMAS)

Borneo Rights International, United Kingdom (BRI)

Biro Alam Sekitar Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Center for Orang Asli Concerns

Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)

Civil Rights Committee of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

Community Action Network (CAN)

Communities Information and Communication Centre (CICOM)

Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur

ENGAGE

Friends in Conversation (FIC)

Gerakan Bunga Raya

Gindol Initiative for Civil Society, Borneo

Gabungan NGO Pengerang Johore

Helen Ting

Himpunan Hijau

Ho Yock Lin, President, AWAM

Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) which comprises 89 CBOs.

Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)

Jaringan Tanah Hak Adat Bangsa Asal Sarawak (TAHABAS)

JOHOR YELLOW FLAME (JYF)

Kelab Bangsar Utama

Lee Hwok Aun Dr., Universiti Malaya

LLG Cultural Development Centre

Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

MALAYSIAN INDIANS PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION (MIPAS)

Malaysians for Beng Hock

Mama Bersih

New Era College Student Progressive Front

Northern Green Youth

Parti Sosialis Malaysia

People’s Green Coalition

Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Kuala Lumpur & Selangor

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)

Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & Kuala Lumpur (PRIHATIN)

Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

Persatuan Murid Murid Tua SJK (C) Pei Hwa

Persatuan Penduduk Taman Muhibbah

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)

Pertubuhan Solidariti Hijau Kuantan ( PSHK)

Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam

Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee

Save Vui Kong Campaign

Serdang Bharu School Alumni Youth Section

Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM)

SOS-Selangor

Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)

Suaram

Suaram Penang

Sunflower Election Education (SEED)

Tamil Foundation

Tan Siang Yong, Chairman Kedah/Perlis Liaison Committee, LLG Cultural Development Centre

Tenaganita

Tindakmalaysia

Toh Kin Woon Dr.

Universiti Utara Malaysia Student Progressive Front

Universiti Sains Malaysia Student Progressive Front

Universiti Putra Malaysia Student Progressive Front

Women’s Centre for Change, Penang

Women Development of Malaysia PJ Branch.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

Women Section of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

Wong Fort Pin Dr., Klinik Wong, Melaka

Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)

Yoong Suan Dr., PhD, research fellow, Cameron Highlands

Youth Section of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

Peoples Documentary

528 Media Action Group

Life for Democracy

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