Live after Manmade Natural Disaster – Baram Dam
Ask anybody with the right minds if they believe the completion in total of 12 dams proposed for Sarawak would enhance the poverty level, boost up the people’s economy and bring developments? Well, my answer to that in single word is call “Disaster”.
Needless to mention; I do not belong to any political parties, I am not a lawyer, nor a professor, I do not belong to any organization or neither an association to write this letter. I write opinion because I do not believe in the “development” that caused permanent damages to environment and “development” to destroy human race, I do not believe in “development” that the seemingly geeky, construction of dam is actually a breeding ground solely for the sake of boosting their family businesses. I do not believe in government who govern this country under policies of lies that do not speakers stressed that development projects could either help indigenous peoples to survive or to destroy them and their cultural heritage.
Often am wondering whether we Orang Ulu are fully aware what will be “lives after the dam(s)?” Do we know that the seemingly geeky, mild-mannered our own elected YBs Dato Jacob Dungau Sagan, Dennis Ngau are actually the breeding ground for “social thieves” – part of a sinister by individual politician plot to rob the poor Orang Ulu of their races and ancestral lands?
The site of Baram Hydroelectric dam will be located above Long Keseh, between the inflows of the Sungai Patah and Sungai Kalah from the left and Sungai Hit from the right.
The dam will not only have devastating social and environmental impacts: the area is going to affect mostly “Native Customary Land”, and consists of temuda, cultivated lands, gardens, villages, churches, graveyards, community forests and sites of historical significant. The people are going to lose their longhouses, villages, properties, lands and forests as a result of submergence and displacement.
Even if not submerged, forests in the area will inevitably be depleted, when logging companies move in to use the infrastructure built to serve the dam.” Good living examples are the effects of completed dams such as Palagus and Bakun.
Their settlements are well located on below, above and around of the project site.
The downstream longhouses/villages are;
From Long Lama, Long Laput, Sungai Dua, Sri Kenawan, Uma Bawang, Long Miri (Daleh Pelutan), Long Pilah up to Long Keseh.
The upstream and within the dam reservoir area are;
From Long Na’ah, Long Liam, Long Akah, Long San, Long Selatong (Dekan & Tapalit), Long Apu, Long Julan Asal, Long Julan Pelutan, Long Anap, Long Palai, Long Je’eh, Long Moh, Long Sela’an, Long Semiyang, Loi Mato as well in Akah River that are Long Beku, Ba Abang, Long Tap and Long Tebangan. The Baram Hydroelectric dam would submerge area of 38,900 hectares (389 sq km) of land and forest, more than half the size of Singapore Island of 704 sq km. The size of disaster area affected by the Baram dam is alarming.
As the initial signs of some kind of friendly are returning for the people after the election “promises”, it may seem rather bland or even improper to talk of theory. But the ends result of the theories can and do powerfully shape how we think about disasters, how we understand the aftermath, and how we to live our normal lives from then on.
In fact, this is where our government (Dato Jacob Dungau Sagan, Dennis Ngau) can and must be involved, to foster development of countermeasures to natural and man-made disasters, to develop agriculture, building of roads/highways from Bario to Kuching, improve healthcare, building more hospitals to prevent disabling disease and potentially avert the threat of death, improve economy for the Orang Ulu people. Developing new medicines from herbs, plants can take decades and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. But there is no coherent funding system for medicines to meet the kinds of disaster that our elected government is compelled to prepare for, but instead choose to wipe us out.
The Features of the Baram Hydroelectric Dam Project;
Crest of dam 180 m a.s.1.
Height of dam 162 m
Length of dam 685 m
Crest of dam 180 m a.s.l.
Height of dam 70 m
Length of dam 1,290 m
Normal water level 178 m a.s.1.
Minimum water level 177 m a.s.1.
Total storage volume 13,2 x 109 rn3
Reservoir area 389 sq km
Installed capacity 830 MW
Design discharge 684 m3/s
Design head 138 m
Average energy generation 5,848 GWh/a
Turbine type Francis –vertical axis
Number of units 4
Catchment Areas total of: 8,966 sq km
The ‘immortal mega manmade disaster” of this kind is beyond the imagination of the ordinary Orang Ulu, especially our headmen who are innocently supporting the dam for the sake of “development”.
Our headmen; Temengong, Pemancar, Penghulu, Tua Kampong, they should find out what people will quietly submit to and you find out the exact measure of injustice and wrong that will be imposed to the Baram and its people instead mislead and prescribed to the will of the “old evil tyrant” Taib Mahmud.
Although the Federal government is aware that this demographic upheaval in the Baram and Sarawak as whole, will neither pass unnoticed by PM Najib, but he chooses to ignore it altogether and let Taib Mahmud and his state government freely get away with it.
I know we are on the side of Barisan National’s bias laws, the power of Baram Hydroelectric dam and influence are beyond our means as simple, ordinary citizens who are but little pebbles along the Baram River that can be easily ignored or washed away in the arena of big corporations, power mongers, and unscrupulous predators that are living lavishly in Kuching from the timbers extracted from your backyard.
Remember, we never heard of natural disaster such as earthquake, volcanic eruption, typhoon, tsunami in Baram before, but the build of The Baram Hydroelectric Dam is going to be reality. I am deeply worry…!!
Therefore, we must unite and say NO to BARAM DAM.
Please help us sustain our endurance in our uphill struggle to save our people, our land, and our heritage from manmade disaster.
‘WE SHALL OVERCOME”
Burak S. Sem