Disaster as debris clogs Rajang River

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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.

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Jonnie
Jonnie
13 Oct 2010 12.09pm

Act of GOD? More like reACTion from GOD…

ghkok
ghkok
12 Oct 2010 4.17pm

The Bakun Dam project was of course (dubious) right from the very beginning. Please go to this link to see Anwar Ibrahim’s police reports regarding the dubious transactions taking place.

http://www.rengah.c2o.org/news/article.php?identifer=de0058t&subject=2

Labu Labi
Labu Labi
10 Oct 2010 8.17pm

Ini satu ‘Act of God’.

God must be very angry with Taib mahmud the Pek Moh!…

Abang Adek
Abang Adek
10 Oct 2010 2.46pm

Satu lagi projek Abdul Taib Mahmud dan Barisan Nasional…!!!

Undilah Barisan Nasional untuk kecelakaan nasional!

Ahmad Syafiq
11 Oct 2010 3.35pm
Reply to  Abang Adek

Hahahaha, cantiklah Abang Adek. ;P

Leithaisor
Leithaisor
9 Oct 2010 9.07pm

Corporate greed? Which state government department[s] and officials have not been doing their job? Or should I not bother with such a rhetorical question? And as if the Rajang logjam is not enough, Bernama has news that the Sarawak Energy Bhd has plans to build “seven new hydro dams and a coal-fired power station”. Another report states: “Sarawak plans to build more coal-fired power plants as back-up energy sources for the state, State Public Utilities Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said on Saturday. He said the state needed coal-fired power to complement its hydro power generation, especially in… Read more »

Gary_AU
9 Oct 2010 6.00pm

EL nono ,, i dont tnk so ,, more like LA NINA the opposite of el nino ,,,so looks like some one is attempting to blame it on el nino effect when we are experiencing a heavt la nina effct

Ong Eu Soon
10 Oct 2010 7.13am
Reply to  Gary_AU

La Nino is a boy, it bring rain. La nina is a girl, no rain. You are confused! But some of the place will still have rain due to cross over of rain on the ocean to the land. La Nina effect is starting from today onward for those countries at the same latitude with west Malaysia. After La Nino , La Nina will follow. So expect drought to hit some country. But history shown we in west malaysia will still have some rain, due to cross over of rain on ocean. Basically during La Nina, rain only drop on… Read more »

Thin King
Thin King
9 Oct 2010 5.05pm

@ LBJ Malaysia could certainly do without people like you with such warped reasoning and a distinct lack of empathy and compassion. It sounds like you’re saying thousands of people deserve to suffer and be subjected to the risk of dying, because of the acts of a corrupt few. Way to go to blame the victims instead of the perpetrators. You should be directing your scorn at the leaders and managers of the states resources, instead of the people of Sarawak. But then again, it’s always easier to sit on your high chair, making smug comments and passing ignorant judgement,… Read more »

Ann Seng
Ann Seng
9 Oct 2010 4.56pm

What a show case for all sore eyes of the world to see but never the less a sad day for the ecosystem of Sarawak. Definitely Sahabat Alam Malaysia and National Geographic should be given access to make the documentary about this disaster and the destruction of the forest, wild life and the effects of people who depends on them. It is a steep learning curve and a very good lesson for the people of Sarawak – nothing is for free! You destroy the environment, surely it will retaliate and one fine day, disaster right in front of your steep.… Read more »

wandererAUS
wandererAUS
9 Oct 2010 4.17pm

Anil, it would’nt be a bad idea if you throw a life line to … Taib and set up a Wood Chip company, collecting all the timber waste from the river and turning them to wood chips! Killing two birds with one stone…obviously, you can demand a hefty sum from the State govt to clear the clogging…what say you? Get one of his sons or daughters as a major share holder…sure winner la. You can give up your profession as a poorly paid columnist!

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
9 Oct 2010 4.14pm

Reminds me of the situation in Thailand 10 years ago:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/x6967e/x6967e09.htm

ajajal
ajajal
9 Oct 2010 2.40pm

Yes GOD wanted to show us how human can destroy what GOD has made for us. This is not forgivable Taib
Mahmud and his cabinet should all be held responsible.
For the Sarawakian there must be someone brave enough to sue Taib Mahmud for this.

semuany OK kot
semuany OK kot
9 Oct 2010 1.56pm

This Minister has been repeating that this enormous jam of LOGS is a “natural” disaster.

1Malaysia is the forled leader in “sustainable forestry” and lip service!

tan, tanjong bungah
tan, tanjong bungah
9 Oct 2010 1.21pm

Hi everyone,

Fingers would be conveniently pointed at legal and illegal loggers!

The fault lies in free granting of logging permits at the expense of the environment at a heavy cost, financially and otherwise, to all Sarawakians and Malaysians!! Lack of supervision and strict enforcement of regulations in the case of legalised logging and no enforcement in the case of illegal logging (with intent and vested interests) clearly points to the fault of the relevant State and Federal agencies. Acts of omission and commission put the fault at these agencies and individuals!

Ahmad Syafiq
9 Oct 2010 12.44pm

BODOH PUNYA LOGGERS. Enough said.

DRFatimah
DRFatimah
9 Oct 2010 12.23pm

This is the river that have shaped my childhood and my life – 50 years ago. I love and appreciate nature and decide to pursue my Phd in Environmental Economics so that it can help me understand what is nature/natural resources to country’s pursuit toward a developed nation. But today, the rich bastard had taken my right and taken life and soul out the river. I am in mourning.

DRFK

DRFatimah
DRFatimah
10 Oct 2010 9.27am
Reply to  DRFatimah

Dear All, In a way I am blessed. About 50 years ago, I cruised this river on a small boat helping my parent to sell fruits/food to longhouses along that river. There will be a time I will travelled by boat/cargo ship (Rajah Mas) from the river mouth to Kanowit if my school participate in sports carnival against school in Kapit and Kanowit area. The beauty is splendoured and breath taking than. I dont think National Geographic has captured this and it will never be anymore. I captured the beauty of this river at the early days of my life… Read more »

LBJ
LBJ
9 Oct 2010 12.11pm

I think Sarawak deserves this disaster. It is an act of man. But it is God who deals out the punishment to the people for voting that man in power. God giveth and God can take away.

Ong Eu Soon
9 Oct 2010 12.09pm

The Three Gorges Dam’s beris is only a km long and the world view it as an impending catastrophe, a serious threat to the dam. Now our very own problem; a 50km long logjam, just can’t image what if it happen at the upstream of Bakun after the impondment of the dam. The China authorities deployed 33895 man count and 7687 ship count to clear 2500 tonnes of debris daily for the Three Groges Dam. The China government virtually deployed it’s army to fight this disaster. Every minute and every second is counted in order to make sure that the… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
9 Oct 2010 11.37am

Anwar should not forget that he is part of the Bakun dam problem. He once went to Sarawak to tell the native eerything is fine and taken care of. That all those affected by the Bakun will be compensated. That Bakun is a great project, good for all of us. Now Anwar is in the opposition, I would like to hear from him what he would do to Bakun dam if he become our PM in the near furure. Can we trust him to solve our problem?

ghkok
ghkok
12 Oct 2010 4.19pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

Anwar said what ? If you really want to know what he said, please go to this link to see his police reports on Mahathir’s involvement.

http://www.rengah.c2o.org/news/article.php?identifer=de0058t&subject=2

Ong Eu Soon
9 Oct 2010 11.32am

Just image what if this 50km of log jam happened at the upstream of Bakun after the impoundment of the dam, will it choke up the Bakun dam and… Will a catastrophic failure of Bakun…? This is the gift … by Dr M and Taib Mahmud to all Malaysians particularly Sarawakians. When we first oppose the building of Bakun Dam, Malaysians couldn’t be bother, term after term voted in Dr M administration, believed that he is good for Bolehland. Now is pay back time, Dr M is gone, but the problem remain. Expect Najib to do something, he is just… Read more »

tunglang
10 Oct 2010 12.45am
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

When they started to build the Bakun Dam, they already cleared thousands and thousands of acres of virgin rainforest upstream. Built Dam, got cheap and almost FREE timber! So, we don’t see any mass floating of logs upstream nowadays that will endanger the Dam structure. That mass logging could have happened years before out of sight, out of the press cameras.

So, to continue their wanton greed disregard for Nature, do it downstream post the Bakun Dam. The unusually heavy rainfall is making river transportation of timber their choice for FREE transport.

Woe be to the boatmen and river cruisers.

Ong Eu Soon
9 Oct 2010 11.13am

50km of log jam and the state government is powerless. Where is the greedy loggers and developers, go and clean up all the dead log in the river. Those are money, money, money to be made.
If you want the native’s votes, go and tell them that this is the sign of GOD that judgement day is near, that their decision on choosing the right government will be the only choice for them to prevent future disasters.

Ong Eu Soon
9 Oct 2010 11.03am

Environment and Public Health Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said it was a serious natural disaster which had caught both the public and government off guard. I can guarantee you guys that we are not catch off guard at all. The decision for Anil to publish his article on the Three Gorges Dam’s debris problem proved that we already have a hindsight about what would happened in our own Bakun Dam. It is the authorities, the bureaucrats, the loggers, the developers and the sycophant blind supporters of political parties that failed to see anything in this Bolehland. Once they… Read more »

Dr. Pang HC
Dr. Pang HC
9 Oct 2010 10.29am

Sad. Beautiful country, ugly government.

Sean
Sean
9 Oct 2010 5.14pm
Reply to  Dr. Pang HC

I think it’s a representative government.

Ong Eu Soon
9 Oct 2010 10.20am

Anil, I still thought thing won’t happen so fast in this Bolehland. Seem like we can’t predict better than nature. Today is the eve of impoundment of Bakun, is this a tell tell signs of an impending disaster? The whole picture shown signs of landslide or mudslide some where else, serious deforestation where tonnes of dead wood and muds and sand were every where. This is what we are worry about when Anil decided to publish the debris problem of Three Gorges Dam. An aspect overlook by all planners of the Bakun dam. Did the government has any rescue plan… Read more »

Kadir
Kadir
9 Oct 2010 9.29am

Mr Eu spoke too soon about China.

Now the same thing is happening because of Bakun Dam.

Illegal logging and land clearing to blame.
Sarawak CM please explain!

Ong Eu Soon
9 Oct 2010 4.47pm
Reply to  Kadir

We are not speaking too soon. In fact it is on time. We concentrated on the Three Gorges Dam because it is already become a reality, a fact that can’t be denied by anyone even the communist government.
What we tried to do is to point out that the same may happened in our own Bakun.
As I still ponder what to write about our own Bakun, this 50kn long logjam already unfold.
My prediction is getting better, the accuracy can be compared to those of Paul the Octupus.

tunglang
10 Oct 2010 12.23am
Reply to  Kadir

Looking at the seemingly endless flow of logs floating downstream, with debris and muds, I begin to suspect one thing – those greedy loggers simply cut down trees as much as possible and had them floated downstream as quickly as possible with Nature’s FREE TRANSPORTATION, knowing it is rainy season in Sarawak. But they didn’t figure out the flow capacity to carry that amount of timber even at flood level! Thus the JAM! Just imagine 50km of log jammed Rajang River can carry how many tonnes of timber! And putting river cruisers and boats at risk! And to cut that… Read more »