KUALA LUMPUR: An orang asli group has hauled Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) to court to stop construction of a dam at their village, after blocking a similar dam project in the same location.
The ongoing legal saga between Jeffrey Hassan and 10 other villagers against the national electricity company was over the construction of Telom Hydroelectric Dam that was approved in 2013.
In the court documents sighted by The Star, the villagers claimed the dam would be constructed over ancestral land, located at Kampung Pos Lanai, Kuala Lipis in Pahang.
The 1,500 Semai-tribe orang asli who lived there depended on the land for drinking water, farming and fishing.
In 2012, they were moved to a new village by the Department of Orang Asli Development (JKOA), on the assumption they would still have rights to the land.
In 2013, TNB informed them about the dam project and told the villagers they would not be able to return to the land.
This prompted the villagers to file a suit in 2015, where they claimed they were moved under fraudulent circumstances.
The suit against TNB, the Pahang state government, and the Federal Government, was to stop TNB’s project and obtain a declaration that the land belonged to the villagers.
As the case was pending in the High Court, an injunction was issued to ensure work on the Telom Hydroelectric Dam was halted.
However, on April 4, TNB filed for a clarification from the High Court, on whether it could still enter the land for other projects.
Turning the tables on the villagers, TNB later filed an injunction to stop them from making any court order to block TNB from beginning work on a separate project, the Ulu Jerai Hydroelectric Dam.
In a press conference here yesterday, Jeffrey claimed the new project would have a similar impact on his village.
He called TNB’s actions “an abuse of court process” by trying to sanction another dam, while their previous Telom project was still in court.
Jeffrey filed an application on July 12 to strike out the injunction order by TNB.
His lawyer Yudistra Darma Dorai confirmed that the court has set Aug 12 to decide on both TNB’s injunction and the application to strike out the injunction.