Thursday, 24 July 2008

Sarawak's Plans To Build Hydro-electric Dams Will Not Harm Mulu National Park

Business. Bernama, Malaysia
July 24, 2008

Sarawak's Plans To Build Hydro-electric Dams Will Not Harm Mulu National Park - Alfred Jabu

KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 (Bernama) -- Plans to build hydro-electric dams in Sarawak to meet the state's future industrialisation needs will not threaten the Mulu National Park, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said Thursday.

"In order to be objective, they must know the truth. If they want to speak about Sarawak, they must know the geography, location, the water shade and the tributaries of Sarawak," he said, quashing claims by environmentalists that the national park would be submerged by the dams' water.

"The National Park and the proposed dams does not share any catchments, so how can it affect the National Park," he told reporters after launching the United Nations Development Programme and Sarawak Rivers' Board photo exhibition and coffeetable book titled "Reflections from Sarawak's Rivers".

He was responding to a statement by the Centre for Environment Technology and Development Malaysia chairman Gurmit Singh that the proposed dams might submerge parts of the National Park.Sarawak plans to build 12 hydro-electric dams at Ulu Air, Metjawah, Belaga, Baleh, Belepeh, Lawas, Tutoh, Limbang, Baram, Murum and Linau rivers.

The plan will also see an extension to the Batang Ai Dam.All these dams are in addition to the 2,400MW Bakun Dam which will push up the total power generating capacity in Sarawak to 7,000MW by 2020, an increase of more than 600 percent from the current capacity.Jabu said Sarawak was in a position to provide clean, sustainable and cheap energy, adding that the state government would continue its focus on the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

"In order to be competitive, people will buy and locate their industries to the energy source that is cheap, sustainable and comply to the world environmental order," he said.He said Sarawak received ample rainfall, had high mountain range and potential rivers to be developed into various stages for hydro-electric power to generate clean, sustainable and cheap energy.More countries currently relying on fossil fuel had started to look for cheap sources of energy and Sarawak had an advantage in this respect.-- BERNAMA