Another mega dam in Sarawak? No thank you.

Miri – The decision to proceed with the construction of the Trusan Dam is in direct contradiction with previous policy. 

In an recent article in The Borneo Post, Abang Johari was quoted as saying the Trusan dam in Lawas will be built after the completion of the Baleh Dam in Kapit.

At an interview with Channel News Asia in May 2016, the late Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem stated, “The reason (for scrapping the Baram dam) is that I have examined the matter. There’s no need to have another big dam. We can have mini dams and so on, but not big dams especially when we don’t supply (power) to west Malaysia anymore.”

This year, in another article, published by the Borneo Post, Chief Minister Abang Johari announced that he would continue the legacy of the late Chief Minister while looking ahead for new economic model in order 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 to invest in small-scale and green power sources which have minimum impact on the environment and the ecosystem. One example, which could be adopted for rural Sarawak, is micro-hydro power systems. 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 mini-grid system in the rural areas. The late Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem was keen to establish reliable power distribution for the rural areas of Sarawak.

Commenting on the announcement for the construction of the Trusan Dam, Mr. Peter Kallang, the Chairman of SAVE Rivers said, “After the completion of the Bakun dam in 2011, the then Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk 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.” He continued, “Now not only do we have the 2400 MW Bakun dam but also the 944MW Murum and soon the 1295MW Baleh Dam. So why do we want to build the Trusan Dam?”

SAVE Rivers is a grassroots network of indigenous communities and civil society organizations in Sarawak, working to protect human rights and stop destructive dams in the state. For Queries please call: Peter Kallang – 013 833 1104