When civil society built mini hydros for the Bengoh communities displaced by the Rm300mil Bengoh dam the sitting Assemblyman Jerip Susil reacted not with relief that the residents finally can see the light but with a promise to `investigate’ the mini hydros and imply a motivation to keep the villagers from moving away. Is he dissappointed that he rather than another politician was invited to launch the project? It is the choice of the villagers who they want to invite to launch the project. After all the sitting politician did not contribute a cent towards the project. As a sitting assemblyman he should look harder into many other locations within his `kawasan’(constituency) to ensure that everyone can enjoy the fruits of development-not to be envious when others come to the aid of the villagers from far. The lawyers have been rendering services to the villagers for years-so it is not luck but sweat that get themselves invited to launch the mini hydros. The picture below shows the bulbs lighting the launch which are powered by the mini hydro from Sg Lawai, 0.75km from the Negol village.
LightupBorneo builds two mini hydro dams for village
by Samuel Aubrey, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on April 2, 2012, Monday
KUCHING: Kampung Rejoi Ngegol, a new settlement inhabited by residents who refused to move to the Bengoh Resettlement Scheme, recently became recipients of two mini hydro dams from a so-called civil society group – LightupBorneo.
However, some quarters are becoming suspicious of the move because the launching ceremony last weekend was officiated by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak chairman Baru Bian who was accompanied by other PKR members, including vice chairman See Chee How.
Bengoh assemblyman Dr Jerip Susil, when contacted yesterday, said he was aware of the efforts to build mini hydro dams for the people who had moved upwards to Ulu Bengoh.
He was, however, unaware of the visit by PKR leaders to that area because he was still travelling overseas but pledged to find out more about the purpose of the visit upon his return.
“The people of that village distanced themselves from the original settlement and built houses above water level. They have to start all over again because they do not have basic facilities. But once the Bengoh Dam is impounded, the whole area will be cordoned off so that it will not be subjected to contamination,” said Dr Jerip, who is also Assistant Minister of Public Health.
When asked if the installation of the mini hydro dams was an attempt to stop the people from moving to the resettlement scheme, he declined to comment further, preferring to do so once he had returned to the state.
Last weekend, Baru led a group of PKR leaders to the village, only reachable after four hours of trekking from Bengoh Dam site. Spending a night at the village, they not only commissioned the mini hydro dam but also gave speeches.
Meanwhile, a press statement by LightupBorneo said the two mini hydro dams were its pioneer projects. Based in Penang, it claimed to be a new civil society group combining initiatives from Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.
Project director BK Ong said LightupBorneo intends to help bring light to Sarawak and the rest of the interior of Borneo where many longhouses and villages still did not enjoy electricity despite many years of development in the state.
“The Ulu Bengoh project involves installing 2 mini hydros – two units in Kg Rejoi Ngegol (3KW and 7.5KW). Funds were raised through effort from Peninsular Malaysia. The villagers themselves contribute in terms of labour to haul up all the materials needed to set up the mini hydros and carrying out the preliminary work of site inspection and water measurement,” he said.
He claimed the group was approached by the villagers last year, and fundraising was completed by January this year, while the cost was RM30,000.
He added the project was launched on-site by the lawyers representing the villagers in their claim for their native customary rights (NCR) lands.
“These families have chosen to stay on their NCR lands instead of moving away under the state government compensation plan,” he said.