Miri police swoop in on protestors' blockades at power station

MIRI: Miri police and Sarawak Energy Bhd have dismantled blockades set up by protestors at the Miri power supply substation in the city centre.

During the operation on Thursday (June 27) morning, the cops arrested six protestors – four men and two women – who used a car to block the entrance to the substation in a dispute over land matters stretching back more than two years.

Miri police chief Asst Comm Lim Meng Seah, who led the operation, said there was a little commotion when the protestors tried to be difficult.

"At 7.50am today, we arrested four men and two women when they forcefully tried to stop SEB officers from entering the site.

"They used a car to block the entrance to the substation.

"We advised them to move, but they refused and when they tried to be difficult, we have no choice but to arrest them," said ACP Lim.

The protestors, who are villagers of Kpg Lereng Bukit, had been staging blockades there for more than two years.

The villagers said the land on which the substation was located belonged to them. They want SEB to leave the place and to pay them compensation.

A pending RM1bil project by SEB to upgrade electricity-supply for Miri is already in jeopardy, due to the protest, with SEB technicians also physically stopped from carrying out urgent maintenance works.

SEB is trying to build a new extension to the present power substation in Miri to cater to rising power needs. Last year, it issued a stop-work directive due to fears over the safety and security of their workers.

The new substation is meant for 33KV of power supply boost for Miri central business district.

ACP Lim today said that the Miri High Court had already deliberated on the substation land dispute.

"The High Court decided in favour of the SEB.

"The court issued an order for the protestors to leave and for the SEB project to proceed," he said.

ACP Lim said the Land and Survey Department units were also helping to ensure the SEB project at the substation would not be blocked again.

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