Sarawak Energy Continues To Engage With Baleh Community On Baleh HEP

KUCHING, 15 FEBRUARY 2017, WEDNESDAY: Engaging communities to ensure their views and aspirations are taken into account is a crucial component of good project development. The Baleh Community Consultative Committee, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Penduduk  Baleh (PKPB),  representing the views and aspirations of the Baleh community, were updated on the progress of the Baleh Hydroelectric Project (HEP) and the long-term community investment initiatives being planned and carried out by Sarawak Energy at a briefing here recently.

In attendance were Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Member of Parliament for Kapit and Advisor to PKPB, Jefferson Jamit Unyat, Bukit Goram Assemblyman and also PKPB Chairman, Tapah Ata, Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, Temenggong Dato James Jimbun Pungga and other members of the committee. 

Representing Sarawak Energy were Jiwari Abdullah, head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Ir Tan Chuan Ngan, Baleh HEP Project Director along with staff from both the CSR and project team.  

The session addressed issues on local content and social investment programmes done in collaboration with the communities of Nanga Entawau and Baleh.

Aisah Eden, Sarawak Energy Executive Vice President of Corporate Services, believe that Sarawak Energy and the people of Baleh and Nanga Entawau would be able to work together to come up with a long-term programme that best suited the communities  and one that addresses their real needs.

“To ensure Sarawak Energy applies international sustainability best practice, we are guided by the sustainability protocols of the International Hydropower Association. Regular stakeholder engagement based on the principle of free, prior and informed consultation allows the communities the right to voice their views and grievances on the proposed project,” she explained.

“We are also applying lessons from our previous projects with each new project that we undertake. Through engagement and interaction at Murum, we were able to develop sustainable programmes that have been successful in meeting the needs and aspirations of the communities. We are looking to develop similar long term partnerships for the people of Baleh and Nanga Entawau,” she said. 

For Baleh HEP, Sarawak Energy is developing skills training programmes and exploring other focus areas for community investment initiatives, in consultation with PKPB to come up with a well-structured programme best suited to the community. 

Jiwari said the training and internship of youths from Baleh and Kapit aims to maximise local benefit by ensuring young people were ready for the jobs that would be created. 

“The Baleh project is going to create spin-offs like job creation. We want to prepare the young people from the area to be employable and ready to maximise socio-economic benefits that project like this brings to the local community.  These jobs are in the form of infrastructure and facility construction such as the operators’ village, civil works, maintenance, transmission and distribution works, biomass removal and the supply of goods and services,” he said.

“Working with the Committee, we were able to set up the ‘Baleh Youth Skill Training’ to equip young people from the area with the skills so they are ready to take up employment opportunities in the future,” he continued.

Skills being taught include welding, scaffolding, handling heavy vehicles and machineries, safety, rigging/slinging/working at heights as well as courses on electrical, mechanical, administration, human resources and entrepreneurship. All the courses have been identified as relevant to the project from implementation to completion. The courses will be conducted in collaboration with the local institutions.

Formed in 2012, PKPB is a registered consultative body with representation from Nanga Entawau and Baleh to look into and safeguard the welfare of the communities in Nanga Entawau and Baleh. Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Baleh Assemblyman, and Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong,  Hulu Rejang Member of Parliament, are advisors to PKPB.

Member of Parliament for Kapit and Advisor to PKPB Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi (centre) flanked  by Sarawak Energy head of CSR Jiwari Abdullah (right) and Bukit Goram Assemblyman  and also PKPB Chairman Jefferson Jamit Unyat in a discussion at the briefing.