KUCHING, Sept 23 — Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has reneged on his May 7 pledge not to build another mega dam in the state, Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian said today.
“I am most disappointed to learn that state government has given approval to Sarawak Energy Berhad for the construction of the 1,285 megawatt Baleh mega dam,” he told reporters here.
Baru, who is also the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, reminded Adenan of the latter’s vow made ahead of the Sarawak election.
He also said the decision came after Adenan was briefed by the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) project from the University of Berkeley, California on the benefits of other forms of sustainable energy that did not require the environmental damage that occurs with large dams.
“Why has the chief minister changed his mind about having no more mega dams, and instead has decided to go ahead with the Baleh dam, and who are people to really benefit if it is to be built?” he asked.
Baru also said the 2,400MW Bakun dam has submerged as area the size of Singapore in the upper Rajang Basin, but was not fully utilised.
Construction work on the Baleh dam, the second after the 944MW Murum dam under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) initiatives, is scheduled to commence with the first of the eight packages by year end.
The entire project is expected to be completed by 2025.
SEB group chief executive officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit had said that about 3,000MW has been committed to SCORE industries and export customers through 14 agreements.