I commend Leo Moggie for doing his homework in replying to my question on Bakun and earthquakes although he had not addressed all issues concerning the subject


By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 25th October 1995:

I commend Leo Moggie for doing his homework in replying to my question on Bakun and earthquakes although he had not addressed all issues concerning the subject

I commend the Minister for Energy, telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Leo Moggie for doing his homework in replying to my question on “Bakun and earthquakes” although he had not addressed all issues concerning the subject.

Leo Moggie’s reply on the subject of “Bakun and earthquakes” is the longest statement so far issued by anyone in authority on the subject and is a positive contribution to make the decision-making process on the RM15 billion Bakun hyaroelectric dam project more accountable and transparent to Malaysians in general, and the attected indigenous people in belaya area in Sarawak in particular.

Leo Moggie’s reply is only marred by two matters: Firstly, his attempt to impute “improper motives” on my part in raising the parliamentary question on “Bakun and earthquakes” and secondly, his failure to address all issues concerning “Bakun and earthquskes”.

Leo Moggie alleged that I may have my own “personal agenda for my political interest” in raising the question of “Bakun and earthquakes” in Parliament. I have no personal agenda in raising the various question on the RM15 billion Bakun dam project, except to ensure firstly , that the decision-making process on the biggest privatisation project in the country is above-board , accountable and transparent and secondly, that all socio-economic, environmental, technical and financial considerations are taken fully into account into account so that the project would not be a liability for present and future generations.

I do not want to emulate the example of Leo Moggie and allege that he may have his “personal agenda for his political interest” I his manner of reply , and I would urge Leo Moggie to keep the public discussion and debate on the Bakun dam project on a rational and reasoned level and not to descend to petly personal innuendos or imputations.

What I am more concerned about Leo Moggie’s reply yesterday is that he had not addressed all the issues about the subject of “Bakun and earthquakes”.

Firstly, Leo Moggie claims that the Bakun dam could withscand an earthquake measuring six on the Richter scale. Early this month , however, the manager of Bakun Management Bun. End, wan Zawawi wan Akil, boasted that the Bakun dam was being designed to withsland earthquakes of up to 6.4 on the Richter scale. Who is right-Leo Moggie or wan zawawi.

Secondly, Leo Moggie had Failed to address one important question about “Bakun and earthquakes”-namely earthquakes induced by the building of a dam apart from whether the dam is in an earthquake belt.

Although it is little known by the general public, Leo Moggie as the Minister directly responsible for the Bakun dam project, should know by now that it is well-established that large dams like Bakun can cause earthquakes.

The United States Commission on large Dams, for instance, had compiled a bibliography of more than 2,000 technical papers related to reservoir-induced earthquakes.

The question is whether the government or Ekran Bhd. Had commissioned any study by experts on whether the Bakun dam could trigger off earthquakes according to its design specificacions, and it so, who had made such a study and the findings or such a study.

Leo Moggie has challenged the authority of dam analyst Dr. Wang wellou, claiming that he is only a lecturer in regional planning at the Dortmund University, Germany and had never done any analysis on the reasibility stufy or the project tender document and that his only source of information is from the newspapers.

It is through no fault of Dr. Wang wellou that he had no access to the various studies and data which had been commissioned on Bakun by the Federal and Sarawak State Government, as the authorities concerned had failed to make public these studies and documents although the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had made such a promise in his meeting withNGOs in August.

It without access to all the Bakun studies, Dr. Wang wellou could make analysis and criticisms which the Federal and Sarawak State Governments and Ekran Bhd. Had find it difficult to rebut or respond, it is likely that if Dr. Wang and other experts are allowed access to all the relevant studies and data on the Bakun dam project the relevant authorities would find it even more difficult to convince Malaysians about the wisdom of rushing through with the Bakun dam project.

If Leo Moggie is so convinced that Dr. Wang Wellou is not qualitied to analyse and comment on the Bakun dam project, then I invite Leo Moggie to give full Federal Government support to the Malaysian Parliamentary Group on Environment and Development (MPGED) Conference on Bakun in December, where Dr. Wang wellou could be invited to be a guest speaker.

It Dr. Wang wellou’s credentials are so dubious and his critiques so unfounded, the MPGED Conference on Bakun would be an excellent forum for the Federal and Sarawak State Governments and excellent forum for the Federal and Sarawak State Government and Ekran Bhd to rebut all the criticisms which had been levelled by Dr. Wang wellou against the Bakun dam project.

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