11 DECEMBER 2012


Together with my fellow natives of Sarawak, I welcomed the news last week that Hydro Tasmania will be withdrawing from the Chief Minister’s mega dam projects. Hydro Tasmania is to be commended for finally seeing the light and for making the responsible decision to cease aiding and abetting in the displacement of thousands of people and the drowning of their lands and livelihood.

I note that Sarawak Energy and Hydro Tasmania assert that their staff are here for the purpose of ‘transfer of the knowledge and skills that SEB requires’ and insist that the exit of Hydro Tasmania was pre-planned. They maintain that the actions of NGOs and other pressure groups had nothing to do with the announcement of their withdrawal.

However, the statement by the Chief Minister that the withdrawal ‘has nothing to do with technology but it is part of NGO politics’ and that the state could find a replacement to continue its plans to build more dams contradicts SEB’s and Hydro Tasmania’s stance. The CM’s unscripted comments suggest that Hydro Tasmania had actually signed on for the long haul and that the government needs continuing help to build the planned dams of his dreams.

Whatever the case may be, the fact that Hydro Tasmania has announced its intention to distance itself from a project that is tainted with immoral, illegal, inhumane and reprehensible elements is, to my mind, a reflection of the company’s realization that it had to make an ethical decision upon being confronted with the uncomfortable realities on the ground. I believe that Hydro Tasmania became aware that holding on to its role in this scheme would become increasingly untenable and it therefore made the sensible decision to quit.

Hydro Tasmania’s decision is exemplary and the BN leaders in Sarawak should be courageous to emulate this move. There is no reason to build 12 dams in this land that is rich in resources and talent, especially as they will cause irreparable damage to the lives of the people. However, let me remind the people that the CM indicated in his winding-up speech in the state assembly last month that he would not yield to opposition to the dams, saying ‘opposition to a dam does not mean that the dam should not be built at all’.

This government is out of touch with the people and is hell-bent on forcing its own idea of ‘development’ on the people instead of giving them what they want. Hence, to be sure that that no more dams will be built, I urge the people to vote for a change of government. Stop the dams. Vote PR.

Baru Bian
N70 Ba’ Kelalan /
Chairman, PKR Sarawak


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