Exiled Bakun documentaries find their way to a screening

A series of exiled documentaries on the Bakun Dam project in Sarawak had finally seen the light of the day as they were screened at the Kuala Lumpur and Chinese Assembly Hall recently.

The documentaries, which depict the lives of the indigenous people and how it is affected by the government’s Bakun Dam project, were supposed to aired on RTM TV2 April last year but were rejected in the last minute.

The screening at KLSCAH was hosted by filmmaker Chou Z Lam himself, who said that the purpose of the documentaries were to give a voice to the indigenous people.

“They have a right to be heard, and this is to demonstrate that,” he said.

The documentary revealed the lives of the indigenous people who have refused to relocate to Sungai Asap, where the government had planned to relocate the indigenous people before accommodating the project.

“This is only the first part of it, there are also those in Sungai Asap who do not have enough land to work on after they relocate and couldn’t live their old life,” he said.

Among the most important revelations of the documentaries was the fact that the Bakun Dam project, once implemented, would drown some 69,000 hectares of native customary lands.

Those who have watched the documentary also expressed their surprise at the revelations in the documentary.

“Here in KL, our kids have easy access to schooling. But they can’t even go to school over there,” said Boon Cheen.

She had also suggested a fundraiser so that at least the indigenous people could get a bus to travel about.

“I wasn’t familiar with their problem prior to the screening, so now that I have watched it, I feel the government definitely should do something,” said Chi Fong.

“They have sacrificed a lot,” he added.

The documentaries are part of a series of exiled documentaries that are being screened at various locations, with the screenings being sponsored by the People Documentary Foundation, Video Art Magazine and Malaysiakini.