PETALING JAYA, April 12, 2015:
PKR’s Environmental Bureau is set to make its way to Baram, Sarawak, to show solidarity for those who were still standing guard at the blockade set up to oppose the development of the Baram Dam.
Today marks the 536th day the blockade has been set up to oppose the construction of a 1,200 megawatt hydroelectric dam at the Baram River.
The bureau’s chief Lee Chean Chung said the trip to Baram, set for May 10 to 17, was in support of the “struggle of the people of Baram against the destruction of their homeland”.
“We recognise the long struggles of the Sarawak people towards environmental rights and distributive justice.
“Land grabs, forced displacement of natives, deforestation and institutionalised marginalisation of vulnerable Sarawak people is a long-standing issue,” he said at a press conference at PKR’s headquarters today.
Lee added the situation could not be improved by merely changing the government’s top officials, but through institutional reforms.
“A thorough institutional reform, democratisation and mindset change are required regarding the role of government and the meaning of development.”
He reiterated that the opposition towards the Baram Dam development was about the destruction that would ensue.
Lee said upon completion, the dam would flood an area of 400 sq km of rainforest and displace 20,000 people.
When asked if those at the blockade had experienced harassment by authorities, Lee said there were complaints that officers, company officials and the local forestry department had repeatedly asked those present to relocate the blockade.
“That is also why we are going there, to show support for them.
“The number of days they have been there simply means they are there to stay and reject the Baram Dam completely.”
The Baram Dam is one of 12 others proposed by the state government for power generation.