Sarawak acquired the Bakun hydroelectric power dam not just for its electricity power but also to develop the lake as a tourist resort, says Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg, the Borneo Post reported.
He contended that just having the dam to use and sell electricity would not justify the purchase of the massive infrastructure for RM2.5 billion from the federal government.
“If we want to have any development around the area, or to build hotels and resorts, we would need to get clearance from the finance ministry. This won’t work.
“So I had to negotiate. Thank God, Prime Minister Najib Razak believed and could see it (our plan) and asked me to take back Bakun,” he was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.
He added that the tourism industry built around the Bakun dam would also be able to provide employment opportunities for people in the area.
Abang Johari also admitted that the purchase of the dam did not come as easily as some have thought.
“Let me tell you honestly, it was not easy to negotiate with Kuala Lumpur (federal government) to get back Bakun.
“The federal (government) said ‘we need the golden share (in Bakun dam) but I said if you want to take the golden share, then there is no point (for us to) acquire Bakun because our hands will be tied’,” he said at a function for civil servants in Kuching, according to Borneo Post.
He added that the acquisition price of RM2.5 billion was actually not a bad price as the cost of acquisition could have been higher.
“There are misleading statements in the newspapers (regarding the acquisition). I will reply to them in the state legislative assembly with all the details of this transaction.
“I’m not afraid because it was done in a transparent manner and finally we are the real powerhouse in this region,” Abang Johari was quoted as saying, adding that with the acquisition, Sarawak is now a powerhouse in the region, and would be able to manage the power and share it with neighbouring countries, he said.
Source : @ FMT Online