Saturday February 9, 2013
Not a must to build all 12 dams Masing: Construction depends on needs; plan not written in stone
By ZORA CHAN
KUCHING: Sarawak’s plans to build 12 hydro-electric dams were based on future needs, said Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
He said the masterplan prepared in the early 1980s identified the potential sites of the dams in the event that there was a need to provide power for the state’s industrial drive.
He said he was one of the Syarikat Sesco Bhd (Sesco) officers who helped to identify the 12 sites.
“The plan is not written in stone and therefore it is not compulsory to build all 12 dams. It is just an identification of possible sites should we need to build dams 30 or 40 years down the road.
“They will be built when the needs arise. If the needs don’t arise, the dams would not be built,” he told The Star yesterday.
Masing said of the 12 sites identified, three had been developed. They are Batang Ai, Bakun and Murum.
If necessary, the government might build one each in Baleh and Baram, he said.
The media had misunderstood and sensationalised the plans, he pointed out.
“To assume that we will build all 12 dams is misunderstanding of the terms identification and implementation,” he said.
Masing said his statement in an AFP report, saying that Sarawak would not push ahead with building 12 dams, had nothing to do with blockades and protests staged by activists and locals.
“We’re not pressured by these blockades and protests. The plan is not written in stone. It is not a must to build the 12 dams,” he reiterated.