What Rainforest?

Chinese firm to build Murum Dam
August 5, 2008, 2:45 am
Filed under: Dams, Media Reports

04 July 2008
By The Borneo Post Business Desk Team

RM3 bln 940MW dam project to provide jobs for 5,000 people; ready in five years time

TOWARDS A NEW ERA OF POWER SUFFICIENCY: An architectural impression of the Murum Dam and inset, the Murum Dam facility (powerhouse) will look like once completed.
KUCHING: The proposal from the China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC), a state-owned Chinese investment body, to build Sarawak’s third hydro-power dam in Murum in central Sarawak has been accepted by the Sarawak government.

Sources told The Borneo Post yesterday that the state cabinet made the decision on Thursday last week.

According to the sources, the project cost for the 940MW dam is about RM3 billion and the contract period is five years.

Negotiations will start immediately on its details such as technical and engineering aspects between Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), the state-owned listed power conglomerate, and the Chinese firm.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies have been completed.

However, details of such studies are not immediately available.

The Chinese corporation is the financier, developer and operator of the US$25 billion, 22,500MW Three Gorges Dam now in the final stage of construction in the Yangtze River.

Another Chinese company Sino-Hidro, which is already involved in the Bakun and Bengoh dams in Sarawak, also made a bid for the Murum Dam, one of a series of 12 dams that the state government through SEB plans to develop over the next 12 years to produce about 7,000MW of electricity for state and national needs.

The sources said the target date for completion of the Murum Dam is 2011 and work could start as early as September or end of this year.

SEB went to China thrice this year to make presentation to CTGPC to invite its participation in the development of hydro-power in Sarawak in anticipation of several large energy-intensive industries, including the proposed aluminium smelter plant in Similajau in Bintulu.

With the go-ahead of the Murum Dam project and the on-going 2,400MW Bakun Dam, by the early 2010s Sarawak will have produced a total of about 4,000MW of electricity, largely hydro-power, cutting down on other sources, especially diesel which is becoming increasingly costly per unit of production.

Hydro-power is the cleanest, safest, cheapest in the long run and with the least environmental impact, given today’s available technology.

Sarawak’s first hydro dam is Batang Ai built in the 1970s with capacity to produce about 180MW, with a Japanese yen credit.

It is already supplying electricity to parts of Sarawak. Bakun is the second dam but due to several factors is slightly behind time.

The sources told The Borneo Post that at the height of its construction period as many as 5,000 workers would be employed in the Murum Dam.

The area to be flooded in the Murum Dam is said to be largely uninhabited.


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“Sarawak Hidro In Breach Of Downstream Environment Study/Report : Conduct Immediate Investigation”
12 November 2010

The allegation/claim by former environment advisor(Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit) to the Sarawak state government as reported in the article “DAWOS: SARAWAK HIDRO DID NOT FOLLOW RULES”, The Star, 12 Nov 2010 at page N8) is a serious allegation which may attract both legal and criminal implications.

From the legal perspective, the grave claim made by Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit deserves an immediate investigation by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and/or the State Department of Environment(DOE) because it claimed to have breached several environmental requirements as per the ‘Downstream Environment Study’.

It is understandable if a State government may not abide by Federal directives/orders in matters which fall within State’s jurisdictions(see Schedule 9- List I and Schedule 9- List II of the Federal Constitution). However, it would be ironical that a project handled by a Federal Ministry ie owed by the Ministry of Finance Inc would breach environmental requirements which comes under the direct purview of another Federal Ministry/Agency namely the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE).

If this is found to be true, then corrective steps must be taken forthwith to ensure inter–federal Ministry/Agency compliance and effective observance in environmental affairs.

Any non-compliance must therefore be immediately addressed so as to preserve, maintain and uphold the rights of the Natives in and around the effected area (upstream and downstream impacts) and environmental integrity as a whole in the State of Sarawak.

Jeong Chun Phuoc
and an advocate in Strategic Environment and Taxation Intelligence(SETI)
He can be contacted at Jeongphu@yahoo.com

Comment by Jeong Chun Phuoc

Febuary 08, 2011, 06.05 PM

“Floods: Mitigate the sustainable way”
JEONG CHUN PHUOC, Shah Alam, Selangor

Floods remains are a perennial threat to national economic and social well-being.
Floods remains are a perennial threat to national economic and social well-being.
THE floods in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis are a reflection of weaknesses in the national flood-mitigation policy and strategy, if there is any.

The problem is made worse by fragmented implementation of measures at state and national levels in the affected states.

It is commendable that the government gives priority to solving flood woes in Kelantan, as expressed by International Trade and Industry Minister and state Umno liaison committee chief Datuk Mustapa Mohamed (“Solving Kelantan’s flood problem to cost RM2b”– NST, Jan 3).

As floods are a threat to national economic and social well-being, the government should extend that gesture to include all affected states to achieve a sustainable national flood mitigation road map (“Rail services in north disrupted because of floods” — NST, Nov 2); “Flood-hit padi farmers get replanting aid” (Dec 9, NST) and “Floods hit Thai-Malaysian border trade” — NST, Nov 11).

According to a five-year-old flood mitigation report, it will cost RM2 billion to overcome the flood problem in Kelantan.

Why is this report restricted to Kelantan?

The government must include all affected states in the report’s purview. This invariably calls for an audit of flood-mitigation policies in all states.

The report may provide only for structural solutions such as building of dams or flood walls.

Due to the costs involved, there is a need to adopt a sustainable alternative.

The cost-benefit analysis method favours an environmentally-friendly flood-mitigation strategy in the form of a non-structural approach.

Such a non-structural solution can be adopted for short and long-term measures under a flood mitigation road map.

Non-structural techniques encompassing flood-mitigation and prevention-related regulations — such as urban zoning regulations, revised construction standards or codes, rivers or streams protection, restoration or maintenance of floodplains and wetlands or mangroves — are the best practical alternatives to the proposed costly structural measures.

The structural methods are not a sustainable method in an objective environmental cost-benefit analysis assessment.

The authorities must consider non-structural flood-mitigation and management methods advocated by environmental advocates such as Gilbert F. White and Jim Goddard of the United States.

As an example, after the catastrophic US floods of 1993 that hit the Mississippi River basin, the city of Arnold, Missouri, undertook unprecedented non-structural measures.

It acquired and demolished flood-prone structures, buildings and land.

It also revised and carried out state building codes and floodplain management ordinances.

The city relocated flood-prone communities and infrastructure.

According to the 2005 report by the Multihazard Mitigation Council, obtained from the US National Institute of Building Sciences, non-structural flood mitigation methods were more cost-effective than structural solutions.

Arnold’s measures were so successful it led to the US government’s approval and passage of the Disaster Mitigation Act 2000.

All 50 states in the US and its territories developed, designed and carried out non-structural flood-mitigation measures.

Structural flood-mitigation measures in Malaysia’s northern flood-prone states do little to mitigate floods.

The states and Federal Government must work to devise a sustainable and integrated non-structural flood-mitigation policy and strategy.

Air your comment on this issue:
Floods: Mitigate the sustainable way

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