Mongabay.com, 5 November: Hundreds of tribal people in Sarawak have started blockading a second big hydroelectric dam project being built by a government which critics accuse of nepotism and corruption.
Late last month around 200 native Kenyah, Kayan and Penan people chased away workers and set up a blockade on a road leading to the site of the proposed 1200 megawatt Baram dam.
The dam, to be built on Sarawak’s second-biggest river, would flood an area of 388 square kilometers including 32 villages that are home to an estimated 20,000 people—around half of whom live permanently in the area.
Local activists have been campaigning for several years against the dam, which they say would produce significant amounts of methane gas, seriously affect fish migration and result in a loss of biodiversity as well as the destruction of their culture and livelihoods.
The protesters say they expelled the workers and started the blockade because earth-moving equipment had been brought into the area to start construction work on the project, which has not yet been approved.