The confusion of the Sarawak Chief Minister and the Sarawak State Ministers about important aspects of the Bakun dam project is proof that inadequate thought and study had been given to justify the rushing in the implementation of the project.


By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang , in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, October 5 , 1995:

The confusion of the Sarawak Chief Minister and the Sarawak State Ministers about important aspects of the Bakun dam project is proof that inadequate thought and study had been given to justify the rushing in the implementation of the project.

Yesterday, the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud gave the latest example of the Lengthening catalogue of contradictions and confusions by Federal and Sarawak State Government leaders about the RM15 billion Bakun dam project.

In his speech for the opening of a three-day environmental journalism seminar jointly organised by the Malaysian Press Institute and The Freedom Forum in Kuching, Taib said that “the current energy need of the country was more than 10,640MW. This figure is projected to grow to about 15,550MW by the year 2,000 and 50,000MW by the year 2020.” {NST p. 11)

I do not. know where Taib got his figures, but. they are clearly different from the figures on present and future energy needs of the country given by the Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Leo Moggie in his Ministerial statement in the Dewan Rakyat on 14th August 1995.

This is from Leo Moggie’s Ministerial Statement in the Dewan Rakyat on August 14, 1995: “Adalah diramalkan permintaan punca kuasa elektrik akan berkembang pada kadar 10.3%. Permintaan puncak untuk se.luruh negara dijangka meningkat daripada 6,276 megawatt pada tahun 1995 kepada 10,448 megawatt pada tahun 2000 dan sete.rusnya di jangka mencapai 16,389 megawat pada tahun 2,005.”

Where did Taib get the figure that Malaysia’s energy needs would be 15,550MW by the year 2,000 when Leo Moggie, told Parliament less than two months ago that it would be 10,448MW -an almost 50 per cent, difference?

This is not the first time that there has been such glaring conflicts and contradictions about, important, facts and facets of the Bakun dam project.

For instance, last month the Sarawak Finance Minister, Dr. George Chan told a three-day seminar on Bakun in Kuching that power from Bakun would be exported to neighbouring countries like Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia to earn revenue.

But this was rebutter by Leo Moggie the next day who said that, all the power produced by the Bakun dam would be used locally and would not be exported.

The confusion of the Sarawak Chief Minister and the Sarawak State Ministers about important aspects of the Bakun dam project is proof that inadequate thought and study had been given to justify the rushing in the implementation of the project.

A volume could now be written about the contradictory and confusing statements which had been made by Federal and State Government leaders about the Bakun dam project.
One of the most careless and reckless statements was made recently by the Political Secretary to the Prime Minister, Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin who went to Sarawak and claimed that there was “unanimous support” from the people of Belaga for the Bakun project as the Sahabat Alam Malaysia only managed to get 97 signatures from the 9,428 people in the Belaga district to support its Bakun Declaration.

In actual fact, the 97 signatures for the Bakun Declaration , which wanted full consultation with the people of Belaga before the Bakun dam project is implemented and sought just compensation for the affected people, was not of individuals but heads of households and only represented the first phase of the signature campaign, which is still underway.

Furthermore, this was the third signature campaign among the people affected by the Bakun dam project.

In 1985-86, local residents conducted a signature campaign and submitted over 2,000 signatures to the Federal and Sarawak State Government, representing half of the indigenous people to be affected, as only some 4,000 people expected to be affected by the project in the 1980s.

Again, in 1993, when announcement was made about the revival of the Bakun dam project, another mass signature campaign among the indigenous people who would be affected by the project was given to the authorities- over 800 from the indigenous people in Belaga and over 2,000 from lower Rejang.

The result from these three signature campaigns (the third one is still underway) gives a completely from that presented by Aziz Shamsuddin of “unanimous support” from the people of Belaga for the Bakun Project.

It is precisely because there is so much contradictions, confusions and even mysteries about the RM 15 billion Bakun dam project that the Malaysian Parliamentary Group on Environment and Development (MPGED) is organising a MPGED Conference on Bakun in Kuala Lumpur in early December.

I hope that the Federal and Sarawak State Governments, as well as Ekran Bhd., would send “top-notch” representatives to the Conference to convince Malaysians that the indigenous people in Belaga and socio-economic and environmental considerations are not being sacrificed in the biggest privatisation project in the country.

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