Murum Batu Tungun Blessing Ceremony

Bungan Sacred Ritual and Study Incentives for Murum Penan Community

Murum, November 11, 2017, Saturday: Batu Tungun is a rock formation held sacred by the Penan resettled community of Murum who still practice the Bungan religion. The annual blessing ceremony of the rock formation was held today together with the 2017 Murum Penan Festival.

The blessing was performed according to Bungan rites by community elder Saran Joo at a permanent site specially built for the ceremony by Sarawak Energy in partnership with the local community.

The sacred ritual was witnessed by Hulu Rejang Member of Parliament Datuk Wilson Uggak Kumbong together with Murum State Assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon, Samalaju State Assemblyman Majang Renggie and Chairman of Murum Penan Development Committee Labang Paneh.

In conjunction with this event, 314 Penan students from SK Tegulang and SK Metalun received study incentives funded by  Sarawak Energy.

At the event, Sarawak Energy’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility Jiwari Abdullah said Sarawak Energy was privileged to partner the community in this important part of their rich cultural heritage.

“Out of our great respect for the importance of the sacredness of the Batu Tungun to the Penan community, Sarawak Energy amended the design of the dam to preserve this rock formation. We are pleased to be able to continue to play a role in this important conservation initiative which is not just important for the Penans but is also part of the cultural heritage of all Sarawakians,” said Jiwari.  

He expressed hope that the event could be included in the state’s tourism calendar of events so that more people would know about the uniqueness of Batu Tungun.

“Visitors to Murum HEP can also come to see Batu Tungun which is located on the right bank of the Murum,” said Jiwari.

The 944MW Murum HEP was fully commissioned in 2015, with resettlement of the affected communities completed in 2013.  The Resettlement Action Plan incorporates community aspirations including preservation of cultural heritage as well as the promotion of education. 

As part of this, SK Tegulang and SK Metalun were set up by Sarawak Energy with the Department of Education to ensure students could have access to local primary school education, without having to board at nearby rural growth centres such as at Asap Koyan or Belaga towns.

In addition, Sarawak Energy provides RM200,000 annually to the Bakun Charitable Trust as part of this, to motivate students from the Murum resettlement and the Penan students in Belaga to strive for academic excellence. The Belaga Penan Education fund is managed by a special committee under this Trust.

For 2017, a total of 314 students received incentives amounting to more than RM55,000.00 for their outstanding performance in their studies this year.