Dam Sarawak!

Puzzled Rakyat has written an open letter to Sarawakians, putting forward questions about the numerous dams planned for the state that they should raise with the PM when they next see him.

Dear Sarawakians

You are so blessed the PM came over and stayed his longest ever with you – to personally help you vote for your new state government with him at the helm.

He would have met many of you, shaken your hands, wished you well and shared with you his good wishes and great plans for your home-state. You are so blessed to have his personal best wishes and vision for Sarawak.

When he next visits you again, hopefully soon, could you ask him these 10 questions on behalf of many puzzled rakyat?

We are truly boggled with the plan to build 12 more dams under Score. This is not just a Sarawak state government programme. It is very much supported by the Federal Government, and the PM officiated the signing ceremony for the cooperation framework agreement between 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and China’s state-owned State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) on 12 January 2010, when the PM stated that 1MDB would be collaborating with SGCC in identifying, planning and executing a number of multi-million ringgit projects totaling up to US$11bn.

As we understand it, work is already at different stages for a few of the 12 new dams (these do not include the Bakun Dam). It would seem that the two governments – both state and federal – would not be stopping at just 12 more new dams. Sarawak Energy Berhad has identified a total of 52 dam sites for the state and is promoting Sarawak to Chinese investors as a land with “vast hydropower potential” to build dams which would generate a total energy output of 87,000GWh a year.

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Frankly, when we saw this map of the 52 sites, we were shocked at the extent of exploitation and destruction. First the trees, then the land, and now the rivers – it would seem.

So, we hope you will help us ask these 10 questions of the PM:

  1. Why do you want to build so many more dams in Sarawak?
  2. Why do you want to build so many dams in Sarawak when there is already an excess of electricity, especially when the Bakun Dam is fully operational?
  3. Why do you want to build so many dams in Sarawak when the villages, longhouses and even small towns do not have cabled electricity supply and there do not seem to be any plans for supplying electricity to them?
  4. Why do you want to build so many dams in Sarawak when there are no proper highways connecting even the major towns?
  5. Why do you want to build so many dams in Sarawak when there are no industries yet needing the electricity?
  6. Why do you want to build so many dams in Sarawak when the indigenous communities are being chased out of their ancestral lands and are suffering in their resettlement areas?
  7. Why do you want to build so many more dams in Sarawak when building the Bakun Dam alone has caused a mighty river to dry up during the dry season and affected natural life around the river?
  8. Why do you want to build so many dams in Sarawak when the country is in fiscal deficit and the dams will cost billions of public money and result in even more national debt?
  9. Why do you want to spend all that money on so many more dams in Sarawak when we still have schools without electricity and teachers; clinics without doctors and nurses; state general hospitals without critical facilities such as for cardiac treatment; and so many of the people’s needs remain unmet?
  10. Why, oh, why do you want to build so many more dams in Sarawak?
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Wishing you a meaningful time with the PM when he next visits,

Puzzled Rakyat is the pseudonym of a concerned Malaysia.

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bubukbusu@yahoo.com
bubukbusu@yahoo.com
24 Apr 2011 6.49pm

Just an excuse to cut trees.