Sarawak Energy Updates Bakun Resettlement Scheme Community on Social Investment Initiatives


Sarawak Energy met with community leaders representing the 15 villages of the Bakun Resettlement Scheme (BRS) recently to update stakeholders as well as the Belaga District Office on the ongoing five-year “Longhouse Adoption Programme and Land Levelling works for BRS”, introduced in 2019.  

The fifteen villages relocated in 1998 to make way for the development of South East Asia’s largest hydropower project at the time. The HEP was commissioned and began selling power to Sarawak Energy in 2011. Sarawak Energy purchased Bakun Hydropower Plant from Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance in 2017 for RM2.7billion to synergise power production as the owner and operator of Sarawak’s major energy generation assets. Since then, the energy developer has introduced new social investment initiatives in partnership with the BRS communities as part of its commitment to corporate social responsibility.

At the briefing session were Balui Lake Native Association Deputy-Chairman Pemanca Umek Jeno as well as community leaders and village development committee members or Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK) from Uma Lesong, Uma Badeng, Uma Bawang and Uma Kulit. Also present were Belaga District Officer Juan Ubit, Sungai Asap Sub-District State Administrative Officer Kuba Lusat.

Sarawak Energy was represented by General Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, Jiwari Abdullah together with Manager for Community Relations Augustine Supen Taja, and Station Manager for Bakun HEP, Jonny Wong Kwei Ji.

Located about two hours drive away from Bintulu, the resettlement area today is home to a growing community of over 15,000 residents with local primary and secondary schools, a clinic, sports and recreational facilities as well shops and a fresh produce market.   

Over the five years of the programme, the 15 longhouses are adopted on a rotation basis to streamline efforts in improving support to the individual longhouses.

Each longhouse decides on a focus area on improving the longhouse environment including beautification on a gotong-royong basis as well as improving basic facilities and infrastructure; supporting cultural activities for heritage preservation as well as community development programmes and entrepreneurial activities.

The first batch involving three longhouses in 2019 were Uma Ukit (650 residents, 79 households), Uma Lahanan (800 residents, 101 households) and Uma Penan Talun (300 residents, 94 households).

In 2020, almost 4,000 residents from Uma Lesong, Uma Badeng and Uma Bawang are expected to benefit from several projects under this programme including the upgrading of multipurpose halls, JKKK office, parking lots, sports pavilions, pathways, as well as the construction of a new security office.

Pemanca Umek Jeno commended Sarawak Energy’s efforts in working with the people of BRS on the social investment programmes.

“The land levelling works are necessary because we are a growing community, and we need to expand our longhouses to cater for new families, providing space for the new generation of Bakun resettled families to build their homes. We look forward to working with Sarawak Energy in collaborations that will elevate the local economy and our ability to participate in business opportunities through entrepreneurial workshops in the future,” he added.

Describing the progress meeting session as a fruitful engagement and dialogue, Jiwari said, “The meeting today was held to provide an avenue for feedback, exchange of ideas and share timely updates on the ongoing programmes in Bakun as well as to chart our way forward in building a successful and beneficial partnership.”

All of the proposed projects under the Longhouse Adoption Programme for 2020 are on schedule and expected to be completed by October 2020. In 2019, land levelling works were completed for Uma Ukit and the Local Centre 2 Cemetery Sg Koyan, which was extended to Uma Bawang, Uma Badeng and Uma Kulit in 2020.

“We worked with the communities to identify priority projects. The proposed projects are either undertaken by the JKKK themselves under gotong-royong basis or awarded to local contractors,” Jiwari added.

After the progress meeting, a site visit was conducted to Uma Bawang, Uma Lesong, and Uma Badeng to inspect the on-going projects for 2020 as well as the completed projects under the Longhouse Adoption Programme flagship in 2019 for Uma Ukit, Uma Lahanan and Uma Penan Talun. Site visits were also made to Uma Ukit, Uma Kulit, Uma Badeng and Uma Bawang to inspect the completed land levelling works for year 2019 and the ongoing works for 2020.

Sarawak Energy’s General Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, Jiwari Abdullah (seventh left), Belaga District Officer, Juan Ubit (eighth left), Bakun HEP Station Manager Jonny Wong Kwei Ji (ninth left), community leaders, JKKK committee members from Bakun Resettlement Scheme and Sarawak Energy’s CSR Team.

FILE PHOTO: Revisit and inspection of the completed projects under Longhouse Adoption Programme at Uma Lahanan in 2019.

FILE PHOTO: Site inspection of the completed projects under the Longhouse Adoption Programme at Uma Penan Talun in 2019.