An all-party commission with representatives from all political parties in Sarawak should also be formed to review the revival of the Bakun dam project so as to allow the fullest public participation on the question of the revival of the Bakun dam project and the scale it should be revived.
The Cabinet decision to revive the Bakun dam project in its original scale minus the plan to lay the world’s longest 670km-long undersea link to the peninsula does not seem an intelligent or informed decision as the bulk of 2,400 megawatts to be generated by Bakun dam was originally predicated on its sale to Peninsula Malaysia and Singapore as both Sarawak and Sabah would only require a minor fraction of its generating capacity.
In the package of “pre-emptive measures” to sustain the country’s growth momentum in the face of a slowdown in the United States economy, one of the measures sought to reduce the problem of “existing property overhang” where to help reduce excess stocks in the property market, local authorities will be directed not to approve any new construction of office and commercial space.
Malaysia suffers not only from “property overhang” but the even more serious problem of “mega-project overhang” - and reviving the Bakun dam in its original scale when there is no justification for the size of the dam is one such “mega-project overhang”.
A new EIA and an all-party commission to review the revival of the Bakun dam project is necessary in accordance with the principles of accountability and transparency to address the many economic, ecological, technical, financial, social and cultural issues raised by the project, especially as there had been unresolved controversy that the previous EIAs for the Bakun dam had not been properly done or complied with the relevant environmental laws in the country.