Environmental NGO Save Rivers has called on the Sarawak government to completely scrap the Baram dam project instead of a moratorium, if it was sincere about the plight of the people.
Save Rivers chairperson Peter Kallang said this was the majority demand of the local community, following a consultation process since the moratorium was first announced on July 30.
"At all these gatherings, the general opinion is that the government needs to revoke the gazette for the land proposed for the Baram dam and its reservoir.
"The other request is for all loggings at those areas to be stopped immediately. Only after such actions are taken would the Baram folks accept it as a significant gesture," he said.
He added that the local community's blockade of access roads to the dam's construction site was a clear message that they did not want to see a hydroelectric dam built in Baram.
"Regarding the government's constant promise of development and improved living standard which could be brought by the dam's construction, the people are unconvinced.
"They have seen examples of broken promises by the government to those resettled by the Batang Ai, Bakun, and Murum dams and some of them have also seen foreign resettlement areas.
"They know for a fact that forced resettlement is hardly ever fair and fulfilling for those affected," he said.
Development a given
Kallang added that infrastructure and public amenities are the government's responsibility and should be delivered even without the construction of a dam.
"If the government neglects this duty, it just proves they failed their basic role as a government.
"So, dangling the development carrot to lure support for the Baram dam is mischievous and contemptuous," he said.