Anti-dam NGO counters SEB claims allegations

KUCHING (Nov 5, 2013): Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE) today challenged the allegations by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) that anti-dam protesters destroyed core samples from the soil investigation work for the Baram dam.

"Based on Bakun dam experience, samples of drilled rocks from underneath the earth were put inside boxes and taken to a safe place, while a lot of unwanted rocks were discarded," said coordinator Raymond Abin when contacted today.

He said the so-called core samples could be the unwanted rocks drilled from beneath the earth, left behind by the contractors.

"They always blame the non-governmental organisations behind the protests, but in reality, SEB is committing a crime by trespassing on land belonging to the native owners. They always deny any wrongdoing their workers have committed. For example, the workers burnt the whole Long Wat longhouse of the Penans affected by the Murum dam, but SEB claimed that the workers only burnt debris and unwanted wood."

Hundreds of anti-Baram dam protesters have set up two blockades, including one near the proposed dam site, since last week.

SEB's chief of corporate services, Aisah Eden, had said in an earlier statement that a million ringgit worth of core samples have been allegedly destroyed by the anti-dam protesters, who also threatened the workers employed by the contractors.

She blamed local NGOs, like Save Rivers Network, SCANE and Borneo Resources Institute of Malaysia (Brimas) and their foreign partner, Bruno Manser Fund, as behind the anti-dam protesters.

Meanwhile, Brimas executive director Mark Bujang, who is also the secretary of Save Rivers Network, has asked the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission the status of a series of reports lodged by those displaced by the Baram Dam and the NGOs against SEB and its contractors.