Malaysians join the global call for action against false solution to the climate crisis – Stop the insane mega dams policy of Sarawak
Sarawak mega dams are harmful to the climate system, the environment and violate the fundamental rights of the indigenous communities
Climate change is the biggest humankind crisis of global proportion.
The latest report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that ‘’warming of the climate system is unequivocal’’ and ‘’limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions’’.
While we acknowledge that Malaysia, as a developing country, has contributed less to the problem compared to industrialised countries, we still have to shoulder our share of responsibilities in the collective fight against climate change. We also have to ensure that the solutions proposed are appropriate.
In the run-up to the next United Nations climate talks in November in Warsaw, the Global Campaign to Demand for Climate Justice (GCDCJ) is calling on citizens around the world to denounce dirty energy projects and to demand for a transformation of energy systems.
Mega dams are not climate- and people-friendly
Unfortunately, the Malaysian state of Sarawak is guilty of promoting one of such false solutions – mega dam – to the detriment of not only the climate and the environment but also unjustly displacing more indigenous communities with this grandiose plan.
We, the undersigned civil society organisations and concerned individuals in West Malaysia and Sabah, support the GCDCJ’s Reclaim Power! Global Month of Action on Energy which is dedicating today (Oct 12) as the action day against mega dams and harmful hydro projects.
In solidarity with our fellow Malaysians in Sarawak, we reject the Sarawak government’s policy in exploiting the hydro potential of the rivers and trying to pass it off as sustainable, renewable energy.
The state government is justifying its mega dam development policy in support of the Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (SCORE) industrialisation plan, purportedly to elevate its people out of poverty.
The benefits of mega dams had long been debunked and studies had shown that the release of methane from rotting organic matters as a result of damming the rivers is contributing to global warming. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a 20 times global warming potential compared to carbon dioxide. Large swathes of forests, which acts as carbon store and absorb carbon, are also sacrificed when they are drowned.
SCORE is a sham
It is a great injustice to the indigenous communities that are forced to relocate to make way for these energy projects that they are robbed of their native customary rights to land, their livelihoods and their cultural identity, yet ironically, denied their basic rights to electricity.
Furthermore, it is a double insult to them when SCORE boasts of being able to attract investors with cheap electricity generated by these dams.
From the controversial Bakun Dam to the current crisis at the soon-to-be completed Murum Dam, and to the insistence to construct Baram Dam despite the peoples’ clear objection, the state government has amply shown to the world that it will continue with the development model that worsen climate change and trample on the rights of the indigenous peoples.
We call upon both the Sarawak state and Federal governments to address the electricity needs of the indigenous communities by exploring genuine and sustainable form of energy systems such as off-grid, stand alone renewable energy projects.
We further condemn the conversion of the precious river resources into cheap energy and the immoral sale of these energy sources to dirty industries like aluminium and manganese smelting under SCORE.
We, therefore, demand that dam proponent Sarawak Energy Berhad, the State Government of Sarawak and the Federal Government to immediately put a stop to this unsustainable practice and end the violation of the rights of the indigenous peoples.
This statement is endorsed by the following concerned organisations and individuals (in alphabetical order):
1. Anak Muda Sarawak
3. Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia (CIJ)
4. Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
5. Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia (CETDEM)
6. Community Action Network
7. Community Development Centre (CDC)
8. Consumer Association of Penang (CAP)
9. Damn the Dam Action Group
11. Himpunan Hijau
12. HUTAN (Sabah)
13. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
14. Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)
15. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
16. LLG Cultural Development Centre
17. Malaysians for Beng Hock
18. Monitoring of Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
19. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
20. Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS, Sabah)
21. Peoples’ Green Coalition
22. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
23. Persatuan Murid-murid Tua Sekolah Kuen Cheng, Kuala Lumpur
24. Pertubuhan Pemuda GEMA Malaysia
25. Pusat KOMAS
26. Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA)
27. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)
28. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
29. SOS Selangor
30. Stop Lynas Coalition (SLC)
32. Tamil Foundation
33. Third World Network (TWN)
34. Tindak Malaysia
Notes to Editors:
1. SAVE Rivers will hold a press conference in Miri, Sarawak as a joint action with West Malaysia and Sabah civil society groups in support of the Global Day of Action Against Mega Dams and Harmful Hydro projects.
2. False solutions to climate change refers to energy systems and climate technologies that are disguised as climate-friendly but in actual fact are dangerous, climate change inducing and distracting from the real solution which is to phase-out fossil fuel consumption in general.
3. For further information on the Global Campaign to Demand for Climate Justice, please go to - http://climatejusticecampaign.