BALEH, 18 OCTOBER 2018, THURSDAY: Sarawak Energy recently organised a formal dialogue and engagement session for some 250 residents of Nanga Antawau including community leaders as part of a comprehensive community engagement plan for Baleh HEP.

The session held at Rumah Tajai, was to strengthen and streamline communication during the construction and operation period of the Baleh Hydroelectric project.  Also present were chairman of Pertubuhan Kebajikan Penduduk Nanga Antawau Kapit (PKNAK) Bujal Jantai, Political Secretary to Chief Minister Tapah Ata, member of Pertubuhan Kebajikan Penduduk Baleh (PKPB) Georga Lagong and the headmen from the various longhouses at Nanga Antawau.

Sarawak Energy General Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability Jiwari Abdullah led the dialogue session and he was also supported by Head of Baleh Community Relation and Liaison Jantai Masing, Senior Manager for Baleh Project Management Poh Khee Heng, Assistant Manager for Community Relation Augustine Supen and Kho Kiat Chai, Senior Executive for Local Content.

Jiwari said Sarawak Energy would continue to engage with the communities and hold dialogue session while working closely with the community representative committees from Baleh and Kapit.

“Sarawak Energy has been engaging with the communities in Baleh and its consultative committees such as PKPB and PKNAK and we are committed to conduct more meaningful and constructive dialogues in the area,” Jiwari said.

“We are pleased to be able to engage the community in Nanga Antawau through an open dialogue especially with the presence of the local stakeholders,” he added.

At the session, the communities were brief on the structure, modes and lines of communication between Sarawak Energy and the communities during the construction and dam operation period.

Those present were updated on the on-going engagement, CSR, sustainability and local content initiatives, to enable them to participate actively in employment and business opportunities in Baleh and Kapit.

The briefing also highlighted on the progress of the Baleh Youth Skills Training programme and encouraged the participation of youths from Nanga Antawau.

Meanwhile, Bujal commended Sarawak Energy on the corporation’s commitment and efforts in ensuring that the Nanga Antawau communities are included in the new socio-economic activity through its community investment programmes and local content initiatives.

“PKNAK is looking forward to more engagements with Sarawak Energy in area of community development initiatives such as education, agriculture and community entrepreneurship,” said Bujal.

At the dialogue, there was a request for more employment opportunities for the locals during the construction and dam operation period of Baleh HEP.

“This kind of open dialogues is important as it enables the community to keep abreast with the on-going progress of Baleh HEP and the opportunities available for them,” said Rumah Tajai Headman Tajai Sanggau.

Josephine Lidong from Rumah Laso, also welcomed more collaboration with Sarawak Energy to plan and organise entrepreneurship training and development programme from the women in Baleh.

Sarawak Energy has been actively conducting regular engagements with the local communities since 2015, as part of the best practices in hydropower development as outlined in the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocols (HSAP) of the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

Another dialogue session for the communities of 10 longhouses in Sungai Gaat is scheduled to be held sometime this month.

The main civil work for Baleh HEP was awarded in 2017 and site work had commenced last month. The 1285 MW Baleh HEP is schedule to be fully commission by 2026.

Jiwari speaking at the dialogue session at Rumah Tajai in Baleh

Tuai Rumah Tajai speaking on behalf of his longhouse community

Sarawak Energy representatives together with leaders from PKNAK, PKBP and Nanga Antawau community participated in a miring ceremony before the dialogue session.

Bujal delivering his speech at the dialogue session