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
NameBaram Dam Blockade, Malaysia
SiteBaram River
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 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.

The current peak demand in Sarawak is just over 1000 MW and Sarawak Energy wants to add another 6,200 MW until 2020 when the Bakun dam already has a 2400MW capacity.

Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) initiative:

completed dams include Batang Ai (108 MW), completed in the 1980s; Bakun (2,400 MW), completed in 2011. The Murum dam (944 MW) is almost completed, while Sarawak Energy’s high priority projects include Baram (1,200 MW), Baleh (1,300 MW), Pelagus (410 MW), Limbang (245MW), Lawas (87 MW), Baram 3 (300MW), Belepeh (114MW), Linau (297 MW). [1]
Project Area (in hectares)40000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population20000
Start Date20/10/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesSarawak Energy from Malaysia
Fichtner GmbH & Co. KG from Germany - Consultants on the project
Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto ) from Australia - 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 actorsChief Minister Taib Mahmud
International and Financial InstitutionsInternational Hydropower Association (IHA) from United Kingdom
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersBaram Protection Action Committee, SAVE Rivers, The Bruno Manser Fund, International Rivers
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
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-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project delayed
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Sources and Materials

Sarawak Report: Baram Dam Blockade
[click to view]

[click to view]

Hydro Tasmania Pulls out
[click to view]

[1] Save Sarawak Rivers
[click to view]

[click to view]

Stop Corruption Dams campaign
[click to view]

[click to view]

Media Links

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]

Other Documents

Protest against Baram dam Source:
[click to view]

Villagers manning a blockade on the road leading to Long Kesseh Source:
[click to view]

Villager showing a board at one of the activists' meeting in Nov 2013 Source:
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update19/12/2014