I have always believed that the Bakun Dam has been jinxed, ever since the developers messed with the ancestral lands of the indigenous people and displaced them from the site.
Now we are witnessing a re-run of the scandal involving the second Penang bridge, which we might not even need in the first place. The figures are almost identical – except that for the Bakun Dam, the cost of the undersea cables is quoted in US dollars instead of ringgit.
In the case of the second Penang Bridge, the estimated cost has soared from RM2.7 to close to RM5 billion in a year or so.
In the case of the Bakun undersea cables, according to an Edge report, the cost of the cables has soared from US$2.5 billion (RM8 billion) to US$4.7 billion (RM15 billion), which is the figure quoted by a consortium led by Sumitomo.
No wonder Sime Darby pulled out. How to supply electricity to Tenaga in the peninsula at an affordable tariff, when the cost of the cables has reached the stratosphere! No super-profits to be made, so let’s pull out and leave the government holding the Bakun baby. A typical case of “privatisation of profits, and socalisation of losses”.
In any case, the peninsula hardly needs the electricity now, does it. Besides Tenaga is still paying capacity charges to the independent power producers for electricity it does not really need. And now, Tenaga is supposed to pay at least 18 sen per unit for electricity from Bakun, when it can produce electricity itself for much cheaper!
But if they don’t transmit electricity to the peninsula, they will have all this excess capacity in Sarawak from Bakun. What to do with all that power? Build more polluting smelters? And don’t forget, they are still on a dam-building spree in Sarawak, building more dams as if there is no tomorrow…