Murum Penan Development Committee & Sarawak Energy Set To Continue Fruitful Engagements

Sarawak - Sungai Asap, 20 December 2012 – Sarawak Energy, the State's energy provider and growth engine today warmly congratulated the seven newly elected members of the Murum Penan Development Committee in Sungai Asap, Belaga. The election event was officiated by Y.B. Liwan Lagang, Belaga Assemblyman, Assistant Minister of Culture & Heritage and Y.B. Datuk John Sikie Anak Tayai, Assistant Minister of Penan Affairs & Rural Local Government.

The MPDC is recognised by the State Government as the valid representative body for the Murum communities affected by the Murum HEP.  Whereas the MPDC previously fell under the remit of the Asap Koyan Development Committee (AKDC), the new committee will chart its own course as a stand alone organization.  Formed in March 2009 the MPDC provides a platform for communication between the communities and other agencies including the Government. Sarawak Energy believes that only through active involvement with the community, can a mutually beneficial scenario be developed. 

Encik Jiwari Abdullah, Sarawak Energy's Community Relations Manager for Murum said, “We are extremely pleased with this year's elected representatives who each have tangible and demonstrable experience in their-own local community affairs. We also wish to properly acknowledge the invaluable support of outgoing MPDC Chairman, Saran Joo.  In recent years Sarawak Energy has sponsored the organisation of a number of key cultural ceremonial events such as Pelah Daleh for Batu Tungun. The Sarawak Energy sponsorship of this particular ceremony started in 2009.  Looking ahead, we believe that together with the newly elected committee we can develop even more initiatives to preserve culture and develop mutually beneficial programmes. With such a strong track-record of such collaboration, I find that the foreign NGO claims that Sarawak Energy is not engaging the local communities are totally without merit.”

According to Y.B. Datuk John Sikie, “The MPDC should be used as a platform to synergise the collaboration with various stakeholders and the society at large in Belaga. This brings developments to the Penans, in particular supporting their education and livelihood.”

MPDC's commitment can be measured by the fact that the seven newly elected representatives are not just anyone from the community, they are in fact ‘Ketua Kampung’ (Headman) of the seven communities in the vicinity of the Murum hydropower project. The longhouses represented in the committee are Long Wat, Long Malim, Long Luar, Long Menapa, Long Singu and Long Tangau. Two additional longhouses, Long Jaik and Long Peran, were also invited as committee members, although, the two longhouses are not affected and will not be resettled by the Murum HEP project.

Sarawak Energy's hydro power initiatives support the State Government's strategy to harness Sarawak's real competitive advantage in the production of bulk electricity at globally competitive prices. Through this strategy, Sarawak is attracting significant investments and generating new employment in semi-skilled and skilled occupations, which provide the people of Sarawak with a higher income and better standard of living.