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Megadam Project Galvanizes Native Opposition in Malaysia

Author: Gan Pei Ling, National Geographic, Published on: 27 February 2013

...Natives from the tribes of Penan, Kenyah, and Kayan have taken to their traditional longboats…to voice opposition to the plan. Baram is one of seven big hydropower projects that Malaysia's largest state, Sarawak, is building in a bid to lure aluminum smelters, steelmakers, and other energy-intensive heavy industry with the promise of cheap power…The dam across the sinuous Baram River will submerge 159 square miles (412 square kilometers) of rain forest, displacing some 20,000 indigenous people…[According to a village chief,] the settlers were given substandard houses and infertile farmland...With support of Australian green groups, the activists pressured dam operator and consultant Hydro Tasmania to withdraw from Sarawak's hydropower projects. Reports say Hydro Tasmania told the campaigners it plans to leave Sarawak after it fulfills its current contractual obligations, but the company has maintained it has been a small player in the SCORE program.

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Related companies: Hydro Tasmania