Jenny Denton

Johannes longboat on BaramCrikey, 19 November:In Sarawak, in Malaysian Borneo, hundreds of tribal people are blockading big dam projects that threaten their land. Freelance writer Jenny Denton says Australian businesses with links to government are among the international companies helping to build them.

“Good fishing!” Johannes yells from the front of the longboat, where he’s sitting cross-legged in his “Save Baram River” T-shirt, surveying the expanse of brown water, which is high and fast and full of debris. The driver slaloms expertly around drifting logs and floors the outboard across currents and swirling eddies.

This is the mighty Baram, which starts as a stream in the highlands of Malaysian Borneo bordering the Indonesian territory of Kalimantan and winds 400 kilometres west through Sarawak to the South China Sea, taking in, along its torso and branching tributaries, the territory of hundreds of small native communities.

Here in the mid-to‑upper section of the river people…

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One response »

  1. “Across south‑east Asia regimes with poor governance and little accountability are working with foreign companies to build dozens of big hydroelectric dams. According to the NGO International Rivers, these projects will displace tens of thousands of people and threaten the food security of millions more.”

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