Home Civil Society Voices 2017 Civil Society Voices The late Adenan’s policy on mega dams is ignored

The late Adenan’s policy on mega dams is ignored

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The modern international trend is for small-scale and green power sources which have minimum impact on the environment and the ecosystem, says Save Rivers.

The decision to proceed with the construction of the Trusan Dam, as recently announced by Sarawak Chief Minister Amar Abang Johari, seems to be in direct contradiction with what was announced by his late predecessor, Adenan Satem.

A Borneo Post article  “Trusan dam project to proceed as planned” quoted Abang Johari as saying the 100/200MW Trusan Dam in Lawas will be built after the completion of the 1,295MW Baleh Dam in Kapit.

But in an interview with Channel News Asia in May 2016, Adenan had stated, “The reason (for scrapping the Baram Dam) is that I have examined the matter. There is no need to have another big dam,” said Adenan.

“We can have mini dams and so on, but not big dams especially when we don’t supply (power) to west Malaysia anymore,” he added.

This year, in another Borneo Post article, “Abang Jo: I’m the new captain of Team Adenan” Abang Johari announced that he would continue Adenan’s legacy while looking ahead for a new economic model to achieve Sarawak’s aspiration to be the leading state in Malaysia by 2030.

But building another mega dam does not seem to be consistent with Adenan’s policy. The modern international trend is for small-scale and green power sources which have minimum impact on the environment and the ecosystem. One best example, which could be adopted for rural Sarawak, is a micro-hydro system.

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Sarawak has a multitude of small streams which could be considered for the construction of micro dams. Power could be tied in and distributed via a mini-grid system in the rural areas. The late Adenan was really keen in realising a reliable power distribution for the rural areas of Sarawak.

Commenting on the announcement for the construction of the Trusan Dam, Save Rivers chairman Peter Kallang said, “After the completion of the Bakun Dam in 2011, the then Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Peter Chin said that after the commissioning of Bakun dam, there was going to be no worry about power shortage in Sarawak for a long time.”

Kallang continued, “Now not only do we have the 2,400MW Bakun Dam but also the 944MW Murum and soon the 1,295MW Baleh Dam. So why do we want to build the Trusan Dam?”

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