Saturday 20 August 2011

Penan: Put Murum dam survey on hold

Some 1,500 Penan residents of the site marked out for the Murum Dam in Sarawak today demanded that the land survey there cease immediately.

In a statement today, the Peleieran Murum Penan Action Committee (Pemupa) said the Land and Survey Department should stop work until clarification can be made on the terms of the exercise.

penan against murum dam land survey pcAccording to Pemupa chairperson Surang Alung, the community is concerned as from village to village there has contradictory information, since the work began earlier this month.

Nor has the community been consulted on the matter, he said.

Additionally, Surang said that the information indicate that the community is likely to be shortchanged.

"(The department) told us that not all our lands will be surveyed even though they will be inundated by the waters of the dam later.

"They went on to say that only three acres of land will be surveyed per family, while some villager were told only their fruit gardens will be surveyed.

History appears to be irrelevant

"We were also told that only our temuda lands which we have cultivated before 1958 will be surveyed (while the rest) belong to the state," he said.

He added that the surveyors also informed the community that aerial photographs will be used to demarcate the land.

NONE"The areas which are affected and will be inundated are the native customary lands of the Penans. We have lived in the Murum, Peleiran and Danum are since time immemorial," he said.

This, he said, can be proven through evidence of old camp sites (la' lamin), grave sites (tanem), sacred sites and other historically significant sites located throughout the areas.

He noted that it is unfair to use a 1958 cutoff as the community was nomadic at that time and would not have had permanent fruit gardens and cultivated lands, and so cannot claim compensation.

Villages expected to be displaced by the dam are Long Wat (82 families), Long Malim (45 families), Long Singu (64 families), Long Tangau (28 families), Long Luar (52 families), Long Menapa (39 families) and the Kenyah villages of Badeng and Long Umpa (35 families).

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