The recent announcement that Sarawak will buy the whole interest in the Bakun Dam from the Federal Government raises some interesting questions.
The entire history of the dam, from its inception, has been clouded by allegations of financial impropriety and administrative incompetence. A project involving the destruction of a large part of the Sarawak primeval forest, the permanent displacement of many native Sarawakians, and the creation of a risk of a natural disaster of epic proportions threatening thousands of lives and immense damage to property was pushed through by a group of capitalists hungry for yet more profit and indifferent to both the risks and the damage to other peoples’ lives.
And it is not as though the electricity to be generated by the dam was needed domestically. After the farcical suggestion of a cable under the sea to W. Malaysia was exploded the new line was that the electricity generated from the dam would service a huge new industrial development area (SCORE) heavily touted by the then Chief Minister Taib Mohamed. Such parts of that pipedream that have been translated into reality have benefited only a privileged few and no one seriously believes that the full project will ever materialise let alone produce the touted jobs and profits.
Clearly those facts have been recognised by the Federal Government who are falling over themselves to pass on this white elephant to the so often cheated people of Sarawak; so pocketing profit at the same time as off-loading civil liability for any disaster that may well occur at any time. The question that has to be asked is whether Sarawak State politicians who are party to this transaction are simply naïve or are other motives in play? Time will tell; hopefully not in the form of a flood of biblical proportions.
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