Sarawak Gone – 30 minute version

The full 30 minute version of Sarawak Gone – The Bidayuh and the Dam. The Bidayuh, one of more than 40 sub-ethnic groups in Sarawak, face threats to their livelihood, traditional lands and culture with the development of the controversial Bengoh Dam.

Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo and is home to more than 40 unique sub-ethnic groups, or Dayaks. These include the Penan, Iban, Bidayuh, Kenyah and Kelabit. These are the last forest communities of Sarawak and the Bidayuh of Bengoh, are one of the many communities facing eviction, making way for the controversial Bengoh Dam.

Sarawak Gone explores the communities affected, the controversial environment impact assessment drawn up prior to the construction of the dam, how such developments have affected other indigenous communities and their right to customary land.


This micro-doc has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia license.

You may download, distribute and re-use this work as long as you:

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10 thoughts on “Sarawak Gone – 30 minute version”

  1. Dear Andrew,

    Wonderful documentary, thank you! These issues must reach a wider audience, and this film will really help. I’ll recommend it highly. You may also be interested in the work of the Borneo Project ( and our land rights film about Rumah Nor, which was produced for Malaysian audiences in 2007. Your film is much more polished, of course, and better for international audiences. Thank you!

    (One tiny correction for your film — Bakun dam is not in the southern hemisphere.)

    All the best,


    1. Thanks Jessica and for the recommendations. The southern hemisphere issue is, you’re right, technically the Bakun Dam is north of the equator… I’d not realized, and so too those who reviewed the script and research, that Borneo sits between the southern and northern hemisphere’s. Curiously, I have read reports of the Bakun Dam referred to as “the largest dam [project] in the southern hemisphere”, hence the source of this comment did come from there. I’m going to have to live with this as it will be far too complex to change that reference…

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Great film. Seems you had lots of footage up your sleeve.

    If you could upload it onto Engagemedia, I would try to translate it into Bahasa Malaysia so it can reach more people within Malaysia?

    Great work – we made a film from a different perspective and I have met Ali and Andrew from Engagemedia. Our film is up there too – Upper Bengoh Under Water.

    Joachim L.

    1. Thanks Joachim… I’ll let you know as soon as I can get this onto EngageMedia. All the other short format episodes are there, but just having a little trouble getting the full length version online. Was very excited to see Upper Bengoh Under Water. Keep up the most excellent work.

  3. Dear Andrew,
    Thanks so much for this terrific doc! Gara Jalong is my very dear friend since the time in 1998 when we worked with his village of Long Lawen on a microhydro powered by a small nearby stream to provide lighting for those beautiful and courageous Kenyah people . As Gara says, we must all unite even if we meet in prison, to raise our voices and oppose the destruction of these priceless forests and forest cultures– both the resource and the knowledge of how to preserve it, both absolutely essential for our survival as a species and child of this incredible planet and our common mother, Earth.

    You have certainly done your part.

    Best to you,


    I want to talk to you about another Bakun story and the great Kayan headman, Bato Bagi. His story must also be told.

    1. We were going to visit Gara’s hydro project, but the road in was in such bad condition we couldn’t afford the several hours it would take to get there and back. Thank you for your kind comments… there is indeed much to be done and what gets done is generally never enough. I would be keen to talk about Bato Bagi.

  4. Wonderful documentary.

    Same old story the world around, the rich using their money to steal the earth itself. Every generation has to defend itself against the theft of the greedy and the tendency of power to become concentrated in the hands of the few. Maybe the Arab Spring, the Russian Winter, and the Occupy Movement are signs that humanity is waking up and embracing that most dangerous of ideas: all people deserve the same basic human rights, or, as the American revolutionaries stated, “All men are created equal.” Change the “all men” to “all people,” and you have the moral foundation for a true democracy. Occupy the rainforest!

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