By now you may be aware of the peaceful blockade by the Penans along the road to the Murum Dam site in Sarawak – despite a virtual blackout in the mainstream media.
The odds are stacked against the Penans in this David vs Goliath test of wills.
On one side are the Penans, a community that is among the poorest and most marginalised in the country. On the other are powerful corporate interests backed by a few of the wealthiest politicians in the country and their cronies. A stark reminder of the wide gap between the rich and the poor in the country.
Development for whom? This is not holistic development but pure economic development (for whom? large politically connected corporation or local communities?) which ignores the social, cultural, ecological and spiritual dimensions of local communities and their habitat.
And let’s not forget the issue of whether there was free, prior and informed consent and participatory decision-making at the local level.