KUCHING: A total of 4,180 votes were cast against the PBB-BN candidate Dennis Ngau in protest against the construction of the Baram dam.
“These native people who voted against the BN government have clearly expressed their strong objection by voting for the Opposition during the recently concluded state election,” said Raymond Abin, the national coordinator of Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE).
“The government should heed the strong objection of the people who are going to be affected by the dam,” said Abin on behalf of SCANE which is a coalition of several non-governmental organizations, has called on the state Barisan Nasional government to stop with the construction of the Baram dam.
“The government should immediately stop the project,” he said, when asked to respond to remarks made by Peter Kallang, chairman of Miri Orang Ulu Association.
“Even though the PBB-BN candidate defeated the ‘hot favourite’ Harrison Ngau, his victory was due to the support given by 2184 Iban voters in the Lubok Nibong area.
“Furthermore, his victory was also the result of the split in the opposition votes,” he said, pointing out that those who supported the PBB-BN candidate were after immediate material and financial gains as well as promises made to them.
Even then the support among the PBB-BN hardcore members had also declined sharply, he said.
“But in the Kayan and Kenyah communities which are going to be affected by the dam, the PBB-BN candidate lost heavily.
“And with almost half of the 13,623 votes in the constituency cast against the government, the government should not proceed with the dam construction,” he said.
“This is the message of strong objection by the natives against the construction of the dam,” he declared, adding that the government better heed it.
The results of last week’s election showed that Dennis obtained 3,597 votes defeating Harrison by 845 votes.
Harrison received 2,752 votes, while Kebing Wan of Sarawak National Party obtained 705votes and an independent candidate Jok Din managed to get 623 votes.
Meanwhile, Kallang, the Miri OUNA chairman, warned the state BN government that it may lose the Baram parliamentary constituency to the Opposition if it does not heed the protest votes cast against it.
He said that the election results showed that all those living in areas affected by the construction of the dam had voted against the Barisan Nasional.
Twenty-five longhouses with a population of more than 20,000 natives comprising Kayans, Kenyahs and Penans will be moved out from the areas once the construction begins.
Kallang who is also the chairman of Sarawak Kenyah Association in Miri said that the government should stop the damp project.
“It is still not too late to stop the dam project and the government should listen to the people or else it will lose the Baram seat,” he said.
In the 2006 state election, Lihan Jok of PBB won the seat for the Barisan Nasional with a 2771-vote majority.
Lihan refused to defend his seat as he knew that he might lose the Telang Usan seat after he described the Baram dam as the “gift of God”.
His remarks irked the voters.