No, this is not the Yangtze River or the clogged Three Gorges Dam. It’s our very own Rajang River near Sibu in Sarawak.
Well done, Taib Mahmud. Well done, corporate boys.
Act of God? I don’t think so. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the cause of this disaster: land clearing, logging and heavy rain especially in the Balleh and Balui river basins. The result: massive flooding, erosion of river banks and landslides that churned out driftwood and logs. Who issued the logging licences and allowed the land to be cleared? Who do you think?
Sawarak environment minister Wong Soon Koh was careful to say that the Bakun Dam was not a cause factor. But the heavy rains have delayed the impoundment of the dam. The water catchment areas of the dam have also been logged or degraded and this could result in siltation at the dam.
And it was only yesterday that a Sarawak environmental network of civil society groups, Scane, had demanded that the impoundment of Bakun Dam be stopped until the government made public its emergency rescue plan.
What has happened at Rajang River is the legacy of the Taib Mahmud administration and the result of corporate greed.