BALEH, Oct 18: Sarawak Energy Berhad recently organised a formal dialogue and engagement session for about 250 residents of Nanga Antawau as part of a comprehensive community engagement plan for the proposed Baleh Hydroelectric Plant (HEP).
The session, held at Rumah Tajai, was to strengthen and streamline communication during the construction and operation period of the mammoth project.
Also present were Pertubuhan Kebajikan Penduduk Nanga Antawau Kapit (PKNAK) chairman Bujal Jantai, Political Secretary to the Chief Minister Tapah Ata, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Penduduk Baleh (PKPB) member Georga Lagong and headmen from various longhouses around Nanga Antawau.
A statement today said Sarawak Energy general manager (Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability) Jiwari Abdullah led the dialogue session. He was supported by Baleh Community Relation and Liaison head Jantai Masing, Baleh Project Management senior manager Poh Khee Heng, Community Relation assistant manager Augustine Supen and Local Content senior executive Kho Kiat Chai.
Jiwari said Sarawak Energy would continue to engage with the communities and hold dialogue sessions while working closely with the community representative committees from Baleh and Kapit.
“Sarawak Energy has been engaging with the communities in Baleh and its consultative committees such as PKPB and PKNAK, and we are committed to conducting more meaningful and constructive dialogues in the area.
“We are pleased to be able to engage the community in Nanga Antawau through an open dialogue, especially with the presence of the local stakeholders,” he said.
At the session, the communities were briefed on the structure, modes and lines of communication between the power utility giant and the communities during the construction and dam operation period.
Those present were updated on the on-going engagement, CSR, sustainability and local content initiatives to enable them to participate actively in employment and business opportunities in Baleh and Kapit.
The briefing also highlighted the progress of the Baleh Youth Skills Training Programme and encouraged the participation of youths from Nanga Antawau.
Meanwhile, Bujal commended Sarawak Energy for their commitment and effort in ensuring that the Nanga Antawau communities are included in the new socio-economic activity through its community investment programmes and local content initiatives.
“PKNAK is looking forward to more engagements with Sarawak Energy in area of community development initiatives such as education, agriculture and community entrepreneurship,” said Bujal.
At the dialogue, there was a request for more employment opportunities for the locals during the construction and dam operation period of Baleh HEP.
“This kind of open dialogue is important as it enables the community to keep abreast with the on-going progress of Baleh HEP and the opportunities available for them,” said Rumah Tajai headman Tajai Sanggau.
Josephine Lidong from Rumah Laso also welcomed more collaborations with Sarawak Energy to plan and organise entrepreneurship training and development programme for the women in Baleh.
Sarawak Energy has been conducting regular engagements with the local communities since 2015, as part of the best practices in hydropower development as outlined in the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocols (HSAP) of the International Hydropower Association (IHA).
Another dialogue session for the communities of 10 longhouses in Sungai Gaat is scheduled to be held sometime this month.
The main civil work for Baleh HEP was awarded in 2017 and site work commenced last month. The 1,285MW Baleh HEP is schedule to be fully commissioned by 2026. — DayakDaily