MIRI: The state government should take heed of the protest votes of the Orang Ulu community against the RM3bil Baram Dam project during the recent state election.
Miri Orang Ulu National Association chairman Peter Kallang said an assessment of the election results for Telang Usan showed that all those living in areas affected by the construction of the dam had voted against Barisan Nasional.
The project, now at the initial stage of land clearing, is located not far from Long Kesseh. At least 25 longhouses, with a total population of some 20,000, will have to be relocated once the construction proper starts.
Kallang, who is also the Miri Sarawak Kenyah Association chairman, said it was still not too late for the state government to abort the construction of the dam.
"During the campaign ceramah and meet-the-people sessions and dialogues with the people of Telang Usan, this dam was always mentioned. They clearly stated their unhappiness with the project and have repeatedly urged the BN leaders to stop it.
"The Barisan government must listen to the people or else they may even lose the Baram parliamentary seat during the coming general elections," he said.
Kallang said the fact that Barisan's Telang Usan candidate, Dennis Ngau from PBB, won with a majority of only 875 votes in a four-cornered fight showed that there has been a drastic drop in support for the coalition.
"Usually, BN wins with a big majority. This result shows that the Orang Ulu are unhappy. It was the Iban voters in areas not affected by the Baram Dam project who voted for the BN. Without these Iban votes, the BN would have lost Telang Usan," he stressed.
Ngau polled 3,597 votes; while PKR's Harrison Ngau garnered 2,752 votes, SNAP's Kebing Wan (705) and independent candidate Jok Ding (623).
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