Malaysian tribespeople protest controversial dam as reservoir begins to fill
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A state-linked Malaysian energy company said on Monday it had begun filling the reservoir behind a controversial dam, as a group of angry tribespeople protested.
Some 100 Penan tribespeople from seven villages set up a blockade last week on the only road to the remote, US$1.3 billion (S$1.62 billion) Murum dam on Borneo Island in the state of Sarawak, activists said.
"More than 100 Penans have set up a human blockade to demand RM500,000 (S$198,000) for the loss of their land, property and livelihood," said Mr Mark Bujang, secretary of the Save Sarawak Rivers Network.
The Murum dam is one of a series of hydroelectric facilities planned by the Sarawak state government as it pushes economic development in one of Malaysia's poorest states.