Indigenous tribe in Borneo lose land to Bakun Dam
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The verdict capped a decade-long legal struggle by a group of villagers who claim authorities in Malaysia’s eastern Sarawak state unlawfully wrested away land occupied by their ancestors for generations.
Land rights are a key concern for Malaysia’s indigenous people, many of whom say they have been pushed from their homes with insufficient compensation by state governments to make way for development.
The Federal Court dismissed an appeal by tribal villagers who said the Sarawak administration violated their constitutional rights by taking over land in the late 1990s to construct the Bakun Dam, a 7 billion ringgit ($2.3 billion) hydroelectric project that created reservoir roughly the size of Singapore.
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“The Bakun Dam triggered wide criticism from the start from environmentalists because it displaced thousands of people and flooded an area of at least 260 square miles (680 square kilometers) ” according to Seattle Times.
Sarawak Report.org, a citizen onlooker group, concerned by the situation in East Malaysia had earlier reported on sloppy construction practices.
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