Bakun Dam nearing completion (Photo by Raymond Abin/IPS)
Even before they can make up their minds what to do with all the electricity to be generated by Bakun, they have already started preliminary work on the 944MW Murum Dam, which is just 60km upstream from Bakun. Remember, Sime Darby has pulled out from the project to lay undersea power cables to the peninsula.
About a thousand indigenous Penan will have to make way as their homes will be submerged by the Murum.
How will the Murum Dam, which will be constructed in the Bakun catchment area, affect the Bakun Dam?
These are some of the issues I looked at in writing this piece for IPS:
PENANG, Malaysia, Sep 27 (IPS) – Preliminary work on a 3 billion ringgit (875 million dollar) dam in Murum in the north Borneo state of Sarawak has put the spotlight on a controversial scheme to build a string of public-funded dams to provide cheap electricity for energy-intensive industries to the state.
Its advocates say that the proposed 944 Mw Murum Dam, near the site of the contentious 2,400 Mw Bakun Dam, still under construction, in the upper Rejang basin in central Sarawak will boost job opportunities, diversify sources of electricity generation and draw new investment.
But while private firms may benefit from the dam construction work and cheap electricity, critics argue that the human cost, the financial burden and risk to the state and the public, and the environmental cost could be too high. Full article ‘Power-Surplus Sarawak Funds Another New Dam‘ here.