Hornbill Unleashed

March 28, 2017

Sarawakians to pay RM8.65b debt for RM2.5b Bakun Dam, Opposition claims

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

STAR president Lina Soo, flanked by the party’s Women head Sylvia John and secretary general Simon Tiong, at a press conference in Kuching March 27, 2017. — Picture by Sulok Tawie Claiming the Sarawak government overpaid in acquiring the Bakun Dam project, a state Opposition politician warned today that locals may be stuck paying back the state’s RM8.65 billion debt for the next 50 years.

State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo said the state government should hav only paid Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd (SHSB) a token sum of RM1 for Malaysia’s biggest hydroelectric project instead of RM2.5 billion.

“That should be right price, not RM2.5 billion, because the state government, through Sarawak Energy Berhad, has to take care of liabilities of RM6.15 billion from SHSB, the operator and owner of the dam,” she told a news conference here.

SHSB is a company owned by the federal Finance Ministry Incorporated.

Lina noted that the state government had announced a new funding model for the project, and warned that there would be a hefty price to pay if bonds were to be issued.

She explained that bonds are loans which have to be serviced by paying interest to the borrowers, and to be repaid upon maturity.

“A debt of RM8.65 billion arising from the acquisition of RM2.5 billion plus the liabilities of RM6.15 billion means that each and every 2.7 million of Sarawak’s population will have to come up with RM3,200 to pay for the debt,” she said.

She said acquiring Bakun dam will increase Sarawak’s debt, which stood at RM2.5 billion as of last year, to the federal government, the third highest after Pahang (RM2.9 billion) and Sabah (RM2.6 billion).

Lina believed that the acquisition will only draw Sarawakians into a “black hole” of debt and poverty.

Lina lamented the lack of transparency and accountability on the state government’s failure to consult with and disclose to the public any audit or viability studies on the intended purchase.

“The public is kept in the dark as to how the costs will be financed, cashflow forecast for the next 50 years and when the return on the investment will be realised, if ever,” she said.

Source : @ Malay Mail Online


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