Sarawak’s most peculiar ‘drought’


Listen to the Sarawak government’s spin on the reasons for the drop in the water level of the Rajang River. If you believe what they are telling you, the main cause is a dry spell, El Nino, or even climate change.

Repeat after me, it’s not mainly due to the impoundment of the Dam, dummy. (See Borneo Post here.)

Dry spell? From what I hear, it has been raining bucket loads in some parts of Sarawak. The Post concedes: “There has been rain on some days in Central Sarawak but that has not been sufficient enough to raise the river water level.” Oh, maybe the rain just avoided the Rajang River and catchment areas. Or maybe the downpour is not enough to raise the water level. Things must be serious then, if rain cannot raise the river water level. Now we are told the water level could get lower if the ‘drought’ persists – never mind the “isolated rain”. (See Borneo Post here.) Heck, they are even calling it the El Nino effect.

But hey, a meteorological department spokesperson conceded that the impoundment of Bakun has also lowered the level of water in the river downstream. And the Bakun Hydro Sdn Bhd CEO, Zulkifle Osman, was reported as saying there had been heavy rain upstream of the dam. This must a very strange drought – musim kemarau yang sungguh ajaib.

Eh? It was only a day earlier that the Post had reported Awang Tengah as saying one week after the impoundment, heavy rains were expected that would mitigate the low water level, but it did not happen.“This (dry weather) is beyond our control,” he said.

If it is such a dry spell, pray tell what caused the recent logjam? Taib Mahmud tells us it was not due to overlogging or the impoundment. So what caused he logjam during this “dry spell”?

Whatever the spin, the situation must be pretty serious if the Sarawak Education Department is thinking of closing schools along or near affected parts of the Rajang River, as reported in the Post.

Sometimes when you start spinning, you start to contradict yourself. Instead of pointing their fingers at ‘natural disasters’ and ‘climate change’ for what’s happening at the Rajang River, Sarawak government leaders should take a long hard look at the unsustainable development model of excessive logging, widespread plantations and massive dam building they have encouraged.

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29 Oct 2010 10.57am

It is either the environmental impact assessment study was not carried out or was completely ignored in the pursuit of this ‘divine’ project.

Now the chicken has come home to roost, Rajang Rivar logjam, low water level, explosive scandalous reports of Taib’s misdeeds all over the place…

Any wonder why all these happen co-incidentally? Divine intervention is at play!

29 Oct 2010 8.01am

The impoundment of the dam is equivalent to turning down a tap which normally would cause less water to flow through. Any soul who have operated a tap knows this fact. Bakun Hydro and Gerakan K must have discovered a new form of fluid dynamics whereby the same amount of water flows through when the tap is turned down.

Alex Madina
Alex Madina
29 Oct 2010 1.57am

wonder what would happen to Kapit, Song, Kanowit, Sibu, Sarikei and the villages along the Rajang if the Bakun damn collapsed?

Ong Eu Soon
28 Oct 2010 9.18pm

El Nino alreay over! It is now La Nia! La Nina caused drought in China, but for Sarawark, it always rain during La Nina. How can it be due to the dry spell? It is the impoundment of Bakun dam, the same happened at the downstream of three groges dam when the three gorges dam geared for 175m height impoundment. The China authorities were forced to regulate the navigation of ship that ply at the downstream of three gorges dam due to low water level. Impoundment need to carry by stages in order to avoid causing the water level at… Read more »

Gerakan K
Gerakan K
28 Oct 2010 7.20pm

Another imaginative article targeting the CM of Sarawak

tan, tanjong bungah
tan, tanjong bungah
28 Oct 2010 6.23pm

Hi everyone,

What’s new? Man-made environmental problems become acts of god!!

And, State Govt leaders contradicted by the reports of the Meteorological Dept and the statement of Bakun Sdn Bhd CEO!

28 Oct 2010 4.03pm

Does this mean Sibu will not have to suffer anymore flooding in the future?

28 Oct 2010 3.47pm

As a Christian, I feel very sad why those many Christian BN politicians in Sabah & Sarawak just let every project passed without a whisper of question.Doing what is right in the eyes of God overwhelm pleasing your boss who is up to no good.Resign if need be and get the respect from your people.As is now everyone is accusing you guys as corrupted as others,labelling Christians are equally as corrupted.What a shame.

28 Oct 2010 2.52pm

“a meteorological department spokesperson conceded that the impoundment of Bakun has also lowered the level of water in the river downstream”

Ahem! This is a misunderstanding. If the deparment head spends some time under ISA, he will begin to see the error of his ways.

28 Oct 2010 2.43pm

Bakun dam will definitely cause ecological damage to Sarawak. Wildlife will be affected too, so is the bio-diversity of borneo.

Pity the natives that are affected.
I doubt they will get electricity from the dam.