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Baram Dam Blockade, Malaysia


The Baram Dam is part of the Sarawak government’s plans to build up to 12 large dams, submerging a rainforest area of over 400km2 that is home to 20 indigenous groups.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Baram Dam Blockade, Malaysia
State or province:Sarawak
Location of conflict:Baram River
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The proposed Baram Dam would create 1,200 MW of power, would flood a rainforest area of over 400km2 and displace up to 20,000 people from 26 villages.

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Project area:40000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:20000
Start of the conflict:20/10/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Sarawak Energy from Malaysia
Fichtner GmbH & Co. KG from Germany - Consultants on the project
Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto ) from United Kingdom - The company cancelled plans to build a smelter in Sarawak
Hydro Tasmania from Australia - a dam operator and consultancy firm that provided engineering and management service to Sarawak Energy Bhd. The company pulled out in 2012
Relevant government actors:Chief Minister Taib Mahmud
International and Finance InstitutionsInternational Hydropower Association (IHA) from United Kingdom
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Baram Protection Action Committee, SAVE Rivers, The Bruno Manser Fund, International Rivers
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Lodging of a complaint with Malaysia'a Anti Corruption Commission
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project delayed
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Sources & Materials

[1] Save Sarawak Rivers
[click to view]

Sarawak Report: Baram Dam Blockade
[click to view]

Stop Corruption Dams campaign
[click to view]

[click to view]

[click to view]

Hydro Tasmania Pulls out
[click to view]

[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

STOP BARAM DAM, Sarawak Energy CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit and a number of Sarawak government representatives were faced with resistance by local communities when they tried to hold a controversial prayer ritual at the site of the planned 1,200 MW Baram dam in Borneo's interior. The ceremony, which took place last Saturday, was interrupted by around 30 local protestors who reached the site by boat.
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1294
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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