Malaysia: Police probe activist over Kaiduan Dam project post on Facebook

    Nousi (centre), and fellow activists at the Penampang police station yesterday.

    PENAMPANG: Prominent native rights activist Galus Ahtoi was yesterday summoned by the police to be investigated regarding a Facebook post on objecting the Kaiduan Dam project.

    Galus, who was questioned for almost two hours at the Penampang police station, said he was initially called by the police for the investigation on February 10, but was still on site and only managed to turn up at the police station, yesterday.

    “I have given my full cooperation to the investigating officer during the investigation process,” he said after the investigation, yesterday.

    The investigation, he said, was based on a complaint lodged against him regarding a Facebook post on the Ulu Papar community’s objection towards the Kaiduan Dam .

    “This came as a shock to me because I was not involved in creating the said post at all.

    “It seems like the issue of Kaiduan Dam is gaining momentum, since even Facebook posts and sharing regarding the matter is being monitored,” he said.

    Galus however maintained that all had the right to support the community’s due right to oppose the Kaiduan Dam.

    Meanwhile, chairman of the Task Force Against Kaiduan Dam (TAKAD) Nousi Giun said they would be handing over a letter to Penampang District Officer Luvita Koisun, to object to the District Office’s appointment of the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah to conduct a social impact assessment (SIA) on the villages that are to be affected by the Kaiduan Dam project.

    “We don’t agree with the appointment of IDS, neither do we agree to have any SIA or environmental impact assessment (EIA) to be conducted in our kampongs for the purpose of the dam project,” stressed Nousi, who was met at the Penampang police station yesterday in solidarity with fellow activists showing support for Galus.

    He reiterated TAKAD’s longstanding stand on the matter and its reasons for objecting any assessment to be conducted in their villages, on grounds that such studies could possibly be used to allow the proposed project to proceed despite their objection.

    “We have seen this happen to the relocated people of Sungai Asap with the Bakun Dam case in Sarawak, as well as with other projects, whereby such studies can be used as ‘tickets’ or green light for the relevant project to be given a go,” he said.

    According to Nousi, the District Officer had on January 25, called upon the community leaders to inform them of IDS’ appointment and that it would be going into the village to conduct an SIA, this Wednesday.

    “We doubt IDS’ credibility to conduct the study, being a government-related body, and we wish to state that our objection is absolute; we do not want the dam to be built,” he stressed.

    He added that what the communities wanted was for the government to conduct comprehensive studies on alternative measures to overcome possible water shortage instead.

    “Sabah is rich in resources. Why sacrifice a huge area of greens that are well taken care of and waste money on building a dam?” asked Nousi.

    He also said TAKAD was convinced that the possible water shortage could only be caused by the inefficiency of the state’s way of managing its resources and non-revenue water (NRW).

    “Look into these matters, not build another dam,” he said.