Penan Families From Long Tangau And Long Menapa Collect Keys To Their New Home In Metalun

Belaga, Sarawak, 1st December 2013: Following the successful resettlement of 161 families to the Tegulang Resettlement Village that started since early September 2013, Sarawak Energy is pleased to announce that all 73 families from Long Tangau (31 families) and Long Menapa (42 families) within the Murum Hydro Electric Project (HEP) have collected their keys and some already started to move into their new homes in the newly built resettlement village in Metalun.

This relocation exercise which started on 30th November 2013, is part of Sarawak Energy’s final resettlement exercise to relocate the remainder villages (Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Luar and Long Singu) affected by the Murum HEP to the Metalun Resettlement Village.

The Long Tangau relocation started at around 10.00 am yesterday and the longhouse chief, TR Abok Jalong was one of the earliest registered at our relocation counter and received his keys to his new home. The relocation process for Long Tangau was completed at around 4.00pm.  During the relocation process, a number of villagers from Long Wat and Long Singu (other affected villages) were also on site to give support to the Long Tangau community. 

For Long Menapa, the relocation of the residents started only late in the afternoon.  The process which was scheduled to start in the morning was delayed as some villagers were hesitant to move due to some concerns pertaining to the compensation package. It is even more alarming when reports surfaced that some of the villagers have been coerced by opponents of the development to remain at their longhouses knowing that the reservoir inundation has already commenced, through an aggressive campaign of fear.

Sarawak Energy has taken necessary steps, ensuring logistical and full consensual support from the four villages on the move-in dates to Metalun Resettlement Village. The action taken by some who relentlessly trying to derail the resettlement and development plan for the affected Penan community is viewed as irresponsible and dangerous, playing with the lives of the very people they are supposedly protecting.

Nevertheless, after a dialogue session between the community elders and the longhouse chief of Long Menapa, they finally reached a consensus to the relocation, for the betterment of their community. The collection of the house keys was led by TR Lien Buek, of Long Menapa.

Commenting on the resettlement, TR Lien said, “the consensus decision was crucial for the community to stay united and they look forward for more benefits planned by the government for his community especially in the aspect of education and agriculture development.”

Families living in Metalun will receive immediate benefits such as clean water and stable electricity under the Murum Resettlement Action Plan. In the long term, the Penans will enjoy various economic benefits and assistance such as a temporary income support valued at RM850 per month, and access to medical care and education, all designed to lift them above the poverty line.

Commenting on the resettlement process, Jiwari Abdullah, Sarawak Energy’s Senior Manager II for CSR said: “We’re glad that the residents from the two villages have decided to move in and we look forward to the other two villages to be relocated smoothly in the next few days. In fact, majority of those participated in the blockade were from Long Tangau and Long Menapa, and we are glad after numerous engagements with them, they have given their full support to relocate. Moving forward, our focus now is to provide assistance to them in adapting to their new life.”

“In addition, initiatives such as the Home Garden Programme a training course on agriculture, farming and food processing (collaboration between Sarawak Energy and the State Government); and the Murum Penan Literacy Programme are some of the assistance offered to the Penans. We are also looking at implementing a number of community development and entrepreneurship aquaculture programmes to train the Penans to be self-sustainable,” added Jiwari.

Sarawak Energy has taken up the role as one of the catalysts to bring the state’s vision of socio-economic growth to fruition in SCORE. Most people understand the job opportunities and investment prospects will deliver. However, most of us are not aware on the positive impact that SCORE will have on the indigenous communities.  The SCORE initiative will bring development closer to the people deep in the interior to enable them to enjoy the amenities and facilities that have long being enjoyed by the people in the urban areas. 

For the communities affected by the hydro development project, other than receiving new houses, they will have access to clean water, electricity, education, medical services and enhanced infrastructure. This can only be achieved by continuing to engage ‘hand-in-glove’ with the communities as what Sarawak Energy has been carrying out for years.

New journey at new home: A young mother with her child leaving their old longhouse for Metalun

Abok Jalong, Chief of Long Tangau Longhouse collecting keys to his new home

Penan children happily playing at the spacious ruai at their new longhouse in Metalun

Relocation at Long Tangau Resettlement in Metalun

Stable electricity is one of the immediate benefits enjoyed by the new occupants at Metalun Resettlement Village