Ting Pek Khiing built a shrine at the Bakun Dam site after its cofferdam collapsed more than 20 times, a business weekly has revealed.
Photo credit: Abdul Ghani Ismail/The Edge
The Ekran boss brought in a priest from Taiwan to conduct prayers, and six animals were slaughtered, the Edge weekly said in its latest edition: “It is believed that the shrine and prayers helped in getting the coffer dam done.” (A cofferdam is a temporary water-tight enclosure within a body of water that is pumped dry in order to create a dry work environment for the construction of the dam proper.)
Perhaps there were a lot of restless spirits hovering around who had to be appeased? Remember the Bakun Dam affects native ancestral burial sites, apart from destroying the forests and uprooting more than 10,000 people – which might explain why the dam appeared to be jinxed from the start.
The cofferdam has been completed and the dam itself is reportedly ready for impoundment – but a host of uncertainties and cost overruns continue to haunt the project proponents.
The original contract sum for the revived dam project was RM1.8 billion and then came an additional sum of RM0.7 billion, making a total contract amount of RM2.5 billion.
But the total cost incurred so far is RM3.3 billion.
This resulted in a forecast loss of RM0.8 billion of which just RM0.4 billion was provided for.
Sarawak Hidro could impose a further RM460 million in claims (for late delivery etc) on the joint venture consortium, but this is unlikely, says a source quoted by the Edge.
Based on news reports, Ting received compensation of close to RM1 billion, the paper said. Along with turbine costs and claims from turbine suppliers, the switchyard contract, the diversion tunnel and the coffer dam cost, the bill for Bakun so far is RM7.3 billion.
And that doesn’t include the undersea cables (if at all they decide to go ahead with that), which could come up to another RM10 billion. That would bring the bill to RM17 billion – a far cry from the original bill of RM6 billion in 1994.
I have a feeling that the Bakun jinx is far from over.
Meanwhile, we are being distracted from all this by the Umno/Perkasa-MCA wayang about Malay/non-Malay interests.