Sarawak Energy Steps Up on Baleh Community Programmes Briefing Held on Local Content for Baleh HEP

KUCHING, 4th JULY, 2017, TUESDAY: Sarawak Energy is stepping up on its outreach and social investment programmes for the communities in Baleh as the Baleh HEP project progresses. A briefing was held recently for 75 contractors and suppliers from the Kapit area to outline opportunities for local contractors and update them on corporate social responsibility programmes. Attendees also received an update the progress of Baleh Hydroelectric Project.

The briefing was conducted by Jiwari Abdullah, Sarawak Energy’s Assistant General Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility. Other Sarawak Energy officials at the briefing included Ir Tan Chuan Ngan, Baleh HEP Project Director; Stell Sindau, Special Advisor for Community Relations and officers from Baleh Project Execution Department and CSR Department.

Also present were Jefferson Jamit Unyat, Bukit Goram assemblyman and chairman of the Baleh Consultative Committee or Pertubuhan Kebajikan Penduduk Baleh (PKPB); Wilson Nyabong Ijang, Pelagus assemblyman; Robert Anyau, Kapit State Administrative Officer (SAO) and Calvin Ligong, Bukit Mabong District SAO.

Jiwari said Sarawak Energy was working proactively with PKPB to conduct briefings, dialogue sessions and workshops for local companies from the area.

“We are helping to arrange update sessions on available opportunities between local companies and contractors from Baleh and Kapit so that they can form stronger partnerships. Priority will also be given to suitable candidates from here for employment opportunities during the construction as well as when the HEP begins operation in future,” Jiwari explained.

To build up local capacity for potential employment opportunities, Sarawak Energy has implemented a special capacity-building programme in collaboration with training institutions to train 500 youth from the Kapit division.

To date, 70 youth have undergone the training and within the next two years, around 500 youth from Kapit division are to be trained under this programme to obtain certification for employment opportunities.

These trainings are in the fields of construction, welding, scaffolding, safety and health, engine operation and maintenance, electrical, mechanical, metal blasting and coating, rigging & slinging, abseiling, administration, human resources and entrepreneurship.

Initiatives to support local primary schools and secondary schools in the area have also been implemented to improve academic performance and upgrade basic facilities such as water supply systems.

At the session, the community was encouraged to channel their requests and suggestions of their needs through PKPB, which was set up as a platform for the community to engage with the project proponent.

Attendees were also encouraged to be ready for the new wave of opportunities brought about by the project.

Commending Sarawak Energy for keeping PKPB and the community leaders updated, Jefferson called on the local community to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to enable them to embrace the challenges and opportunities while Pelagus assemblyman Wilson also encouraged the young people of the area to take advantage of the training programs.

Sarawak Energy has been actively conducting regular engagements in Kapit since 2015 under the principle of free, prior and informed consultation to ensure best practice in hydropower development under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocols (HSAP) of the International Hydropower Association (IHA). In addition to ensuring the communities were informed of the project progress, the sessions also enable the local communities to voice their views and grievances.

Baleh and Kapit local contractors and suppliers in a group photo together with Jefferson (second row, ninth left), Wilson (second row, tenth left), Jiwari (second row, eleventh left) and Tan (second row, sixth left).

Jiwari speaking to local contractors and suppliers in the recent briefing on Baleh HEP in Sibu