The Second Batch of Relocation of 72 Families Completes the Resettlement at Tegulang

Belaga, Sarawak, 16 October 2013: Seventy two (72) Penan and Kenyah families within the Murum Hydro Electric Project (HEP) reservoir from Long Malim, Murum are now able to enjoy clean water, stable electricity and various basic amenities after their successful resettlement to Tegulang Resettlement Site on last Friday.  ‎Belaga Assemblyman YB Liwan Lagang was on-site to provide personal support to the families. Prior to this Long Malim relocation, a group of 89 famillies from Long Wat was successfully relocated at Tegulang on the 9th of September and with the relocation of Long Malim communities, the resettlement at Tegulang is now complete.  Sarawak Energy will next focus on the relocation of the remainder communities to Metalun Resettlement Village.

Pleased with the well-organised exercise, YB Liwan Lagang said: “Job well done to the team for the successful relocation. The communities in Long Malim deserve the benefits of development. In addition to the immediate benefits (clean water and electricity), the Penans will also enjoy various economic benefits and assistance such as access to medical care and education as well as long term programme to uplift the living conditions.”

Speaking on behalf of the Long Malim communities,  Asan Jalong, the Chief of Long Malim Penan said: “We have been looking forward to the completion of our new homes and to move in  and be able to use the amenities provided. We have visited our new houses several times during the construction, just to make sure that we are satisfied with it. We want to settle down at this proper settlement and begin to plan for the betterment of our living, and most importantly the future of our children.”

At the Long Malim village - 118 vehicles were mobilised for the relocation to Tegulang

72 Long Malim families arrived at their new homes at Tegulang Resettlement Site

Clean and treated water was one of the immediate benefits enjoyed by the Long Malim families

The Penan and Kenyah Badeng performed the ritual and prayer at their old longhouses the day before relocating to the new settlements in Tegulang. The relocation committee headed by the Belaga District Officer had organised a dialogue session with the villagers to ensure the relocation were carried out smoothly in all aspects. A total of 118 vehicles were deployed with about 80 personnel were involved in the relocation process. A medical team was also on standby to provide emergency support to the villagers in particular the elderly and children during the exercise.

According to Hubong Uyo, the officer from Community Development Department (KEMAS), a team which comprised of KEMAS and Welfare Department officers was tasked to provide subsistence at both Long Malim and Tegulang over the three days’ exercise.

Jiwari Abdullah, Head of Sarawak Energy’s Corporate Social Responsibility, said: “The concerted effort put in by all parties for the resettlement was phenomenal. It showcased the level of seriousness taken by the authorities over these few years to bring the affected communities out of poverty - a bright future for the community ahead. I would like to assure all that we are absolutely committed in carrying out our social responsibility to the Penan and Kenyah Badeng communities in Tegulang. They are our neighbours now and we will continue to foster a good relationship with the communities here.”

Amid the tedious preparation, the resettlement was faced with a slight delay due to a blockade staged by a group of locals from the nearby community. The blockade resulted in the 72 families having to suffer a three-hour delay before entering their new homes.

“We urged this group of locals with some of them from outside to come to the authority directly for dialogue instead of setting up blockade to prevent the Penan and Kenyah from being relocated at Tegulang. However, the blockade was dismantled after the discussion with the authority and Sarawak Energy. We all agree that the 348 Penans and Kenyahs including the children shouldn't be stranded at the roadside after a 6- hours journey”, 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, what is not as widely known is the positive impact that SCORE will have on the indigenous communities.

The SCORE initiative will bring development closer to the people deep in the interiors so they could enjoy the amenities and facilities that have long being enjoyed by the people in the urban areas.  For the communities affected by the HEP projects, other than receiving new houses in better locations,  they will have access to clean water, electricity,  education, medical and enhanced infrastructure. This can only be done by continuing to work hand-in-glove with the communities as Sarawak Energy has been doing for years.