The news agency quoted Stephen Wan, managing director of the Sarawak Electricity Supply Corp, as saying that the dam would be built but its scale would depend on a study of projected demand for electricity.
He said: "Depending on the study, the project could have a capacity
anywhere between 500 megawatts to 2,400 MW. The government is expected
to decide on this early this year."
What Stephen Wan stated was the position before the November 1999 general election, when Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (Sesco) had been asked to review the scope and scale of the revived dam project.
What is significant is that even before the general election, the review included retaining the original Bakun dam project to be the world’s second largest dam, with an initially planned capacity of 2,400 MW to meet power needs in east Malaysia and in the peninsula via an undersea cable.
The question that I posed yesterday was whether it is true that after the recent general election, a policy decision had been taken at the highest policy level to fully revive the Bakun hydro-electric dam project and that it is going to cost even more than RM13.6 billion when it was suspended by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in November 1997 - and that the latest estimates for the revived Bakun dam project are in the RM20 billion region.
The response as to whether a high-level policy decision had been taken after the general election on the full revival of the Bakun dam project and that it would cost more than the original RM13.6 billion can only come from policy makers like the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or the Super Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin and not by policy implementors however competent or efficient they may be.
Malaysians will not be the least surprised if such a high-level policy
decision on the full revival of the Bakun dam project, involving the
clearing of 200,000 acres (80,000 hectares) of forest and flooding
an area the size of Singapore had been taken even before Tenaga Nasional
Berhad and Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation had completed and submitted
its study, especially as the 10,000 indigeous people affected by
the project had already been forcibly uprooted and relocated.
DAP calls for a White Paper on the revival of the Bakun hydroelectric dam project to be tabled in the forthcoming meeting of Parliament, which should make public whatever recommendations submitted by Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (Sesco), which were commissioned to review the scope and scale and timing for reviving the Bakun dam project and the exact organisations involved.
The White Paper should also deal with the government’s latest position on the revival of the Bakun dam project, its latest cost, the compensation which had been paid to Ekran and Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing giving full breakdowns of the items of compensation and whether they would be involved again in the revival of the Bakun dam project.