Hornbill Unleashed

May 18, 2013

Sarawak dams will flood 2,300 sq km, warns BMF


VIDEO | 1.32 min The Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has warned of possible degradation of the environment and social effects on the Sarawak indigenous people, following the proposed flooding of 11 dams which may cover an area of 2,300 square km of rainforests or one-and-a-half times the area of Greater London.

BMF, which released a map of the possible repercussions, said it is concerned over this fact following Sarawak’s hosting of the International Hydro-power Association’s (IHA) World Congress in Kuching for three days beginning May 21.

It said Sarawak Energy, the state’s power monopoly, is planning to realise the dams by 2020. 

“The dams would directly and indirectly affect at least 235 indigenous settlements with an estimated population of between 30,000 and 50,000 people.

“The 11 dams, of which two have already been completed and one is currently under construction, would have an installed capacity of 7,165 megawatts – seven times the current peak demand. According to the Sarawak state government, the dams should produce the power for new energy-intensive industries,” it said.

NONECritics, BMF claimed, are saying that the dams would benefit companies linked to the family of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (left) like Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS), where the company holds a monopoly over cement production in the state.

One of the largest shareholders in CMS is Abdul Taib’s late wife, Laila Taib, who is still the registered owner of 11.48 per cent of the company’s shares.

Yesterday, it was also reported that the Save Sarawak Rivers Network had questioned how would the IHA ensure that Sarawak Energy, a dam builder linked with corruption, does not abuse the IHA and how the state could present itself to an international audience as ‘sustainable’ while hiding poor practices and corruption.

Peter Kallang, chairperson of Save Sarawak Rivers, also pointed out that the Murum Dam’s  Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol assessment, like other assessments of the other dams, had never been made public, while the eventual release of Murum’s SEIA had merely been “a last-minute public relations exercise”.

“How can you state that applying the HSAP to the Murum Dam has actually improved… stakeholder relations, when affected communities so clearly reject the dam?” Kallang asked.



  1. ALL concerned NGOs must stop the construction of more dams and the destruction of our valuable timber and environment. We must hold a statewide protest as and when necessary to remind the corrupted and greedy regime of Taib Mahmud that we shall unleash people power to protect the natives of Sarawak.

    Comment by Augustine William — May 18, 2013 @ 8:23 PM | Reply

    • We also demand that the thief minister of 33 years step down now. We do not want to be robbed again and again. We want Najib to walk the talk in fighting graft and making graft busting his number one priority. Make it happen within 100 days of your new term. No more more excuses from you and MACC. We want solid action.

      Comment by Mat Som — May 18, 2013 @ 10:59 PM | Reply

  2. The thief minister and his family are planning to take over the State government Utility company as they had done with other profitable state owned corporations in the past. Sarawakians must put a STOP to further plundering by Taib Mahmud and demand him to step down now before the rakyat overthrow him by force.

    Comment by Augustine William — May 18, 2013 @ 5:18 PM | Reply

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