Initial study of Leo Moggie’s parliamentary answer to my question on “Bakun and earthquakes” shows that it is full of contradictions which call for full explanation


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

Initial study of Leo Moggie’s parliamentary answer to my question on “Bakun and earthquakes” shows that it is full of contradictions which call for full explanation

Yesterday, I issued a press statement commending the Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Leo Moggie for doing his homework in giving a fairly longisn reply to my parliamentary oral question on Tuesday on “Bakun and earthquakes”, which is the the the most detailed 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 hydroelectric dam project more accountable and cransparent to Malaysians in general, and the attected indigenous people in Belaga area in Sarawak in particular.

I have made an initial study of Leo Moggie’s reply and find that it is full of contradiction which calls for full explanation from him to Parliament and the people.

I will give the following four contradictions as examples for a start:

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

Moggie said that actual evaluation of seismic activity at the Bakun project site recorded at peak ground acceleration was 0.012 time of the earth gravity compared to the design criteria 0.101 time of the earth gravity as reported in the EIA report, or nine times higher. There seems to be a miscalculation here, for 0.1 is eight times higher than 0.012, and not nine times higher.

In his answer to my question, “untuk mengelakkan orang ramai terkeliru den dengan tindak tanduk Ahli yang berhormat dari lanjung itu, saya ingin memberi ciri keupayaan hiaroelektrik Bakun berasaskan kajian-kajian yang telah di-lakukan oleh pihak profesional”, Moggie gave the following data:

(I) Maximum Generating Capacity 2,300 MW
(II)Minimum Generating Capacity 1,820 MW
(III) Firm Capacity 1,771 MW
(IV) Average Annual Energy Production 16,785 GWH
(V) Firm Annual Energy Production 15,617 GWH
(VI) Average Plant Factor 80.0%

I thank Moggie for these statistics on the Bakun dam project which should have been made public reght from the beginning, and not treated as it they are state security secrets the revelation of which would gravely undermine the security and stability of the country.

These statistics however have given rise to more contradictions, such as:
There seems to be inconsistency in the figure of “Firm Capacity” of 1,771 MW and the “Average Annual Energy Production” of 15,617 GWH. If Bakun’s “Firm Capacity” is 1,771 MW, this means that Bakun’s total power output working non-stop for 24 hours a day and 365 days per year would work out to 15,514 GWH and not 15,617 GWH-i.e,. the figure given by Moggie is 103 GWH higher!

There is also the source of another contradiction. At a press conference at the Parliament lobby after his Ministerial statement on Bakun on 14th August 1995, Moggie said that the actual capacity of Bakun dam is about 60 per cent of capacity. We have now two sets or figures about the capacity of Bakun dam: 80% and 60%.

Moggie’s reply on Tuesday has also failed to address in a comprehensive manner all the issues about the subject of “Bakun and earthquakes”, particularly about earthquakes induced by the building of a dam.
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.

Leo Moggie should name the “earthquake expects” or the Federal Government so that the Malaysian Parliamentary Group of Enviroment and Development (MPGED) could have a dialogue with them
The United States Commission on large Dams, for instance, had complied 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 specifications, and if so, who had made such a study and the findings of such a study.

I would ask the Leo Moggie to declare who are the “earthquake experts” the Federal Government had commssioned to advise the government about all aspects of “Bakun and earthquakes” so that the Malaysian Parliamentary Group on Environment and Development (MPGED) could have a dialogie with them on the issue.

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

It is through no fault of Dr. Wang weilou 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 with NGOS in August.

It without access to all the Bakun studies, Dr. Wang weilou could make analysis and criticisms which the Federal and Sarawak State Government 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 rusning through with the Bakun dam project.

It Leo Moggie is so convinced that Dr. Wang weilou 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 weilou could be invited to be a guest speaker.

It Dr. Wang weilou’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 Government and Ekran Bhd to rebut all the criticisms which had been levelled by Dr. Wang weilou against the Bakun dam project.

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