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Malaysia Orang Asli (Indigenous People) say no to Nenggiri hydro dam

FMT Reporters FREE MALAYSIA TODAY Mon, March 22, 2021

The Orang Asli folk protesting against the planned resettlement from their ancestral lands for the building of the dam.

PETALING JAYA: The planned construction of the Nenggiri hydroelectric dam project in Gua Musang has been met with protests by the Orang Asli, with members of the Kelantan Network of Orang Asli Villages threatening legal action and calling for a mass movement against the project.

The association’s chairman Mustafa Along said the hydroelectric dam was irrelevant in terms of generating electricity in the long term.

He added that it would not be able to supply consistent electricity as a lot of logging activities have taken place for monoculture farms and mines.

“We request the government and Tenaga National Bhd to immediately cancel the construction of the Nenggiri hydroelectric dam as it is not a long-term sustainable option to reduce the problem of floods, drought and electric supply,” he said.

He said the construction of the dam would submerge and destroy most of their forests, customary lands and territories.

The site, he added, was the source for clean water supply, food, medicine and housing material among others.

According to Mustafa, the process of negotiations between the consultant, UKM Pakarunding, and the villagers involved were not conducted honestly and comprehensively as it was not in line with the principle of free, prior and informed consent.

He also said most communities affected by the construction were not given fair treatment even though various promises had been made before the dam construction went ahead.

Mustafa also added that the rights of the Orang Asli community to maintain their cultural customs, lands and forests as enshrined under the Orang Asli Act 1954 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples signed in 2007 should be respected.

“We would like to call and request for support and cooperation from all parties, namely the public, NGOs, civil servants and others to jointly mobilise a national campaign to cancel the proposed construction of the Nenggiri dam.”

Preliminary work for the dam was scheduled to commence this month, including the resettlement of the Orang Asli community, school and other basic facilities.

SOURCE – FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, MALAYSIA Mon, March 22, 2021

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