Component of ruling Sabah coalition rejects Kaiduan dam proposal

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, July 27 — A Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) component party has criticised the controversial Kaiduan dam that was being proposed again.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president Edward Dagul said he maintained its rejection of the dam that was against its community approach policy.

“There are other options that are cheaper, more efficient, eco-friendly to provide clean water, apart from the controversial Kaiduan dam proposal,” said Dagul.

The SAPP southern zone chairman said villagers in the affected area remain worried their safety and livelihood would be harmed if the proposed dam was built.

“We have been made to understand that several proposals have been forwarded to the government, including drawing water from Upper Padas, near Sipitang which is a much cheaper alternative but also minimise adversarial impacts as the area was less populated in comparison,” he said while giving his speech at the launching ceremony of SAPP southern zone’s branches’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) recently.

He urged the GRS government to explore all possibilities and options instead of clinging onto the unpopular and damaging approach.

The ceremony was officiated by party president and nominated assemblyman Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee.

“We, in SAPP, embrace seven core values of the party culture, in which ‘commitment’ guides us to ‘see through till the end’ whatever we see is of concern to the rakyat.

“We continue for the sake of the rakyat, irrespective of whether we are in or out of the government,” Yong said.

SAPP currently has one assemblyman in the 76-member state assembly but Yong said it was relevant as its struggles were in line with the people’s.

The controversial Kaiduan dam in Penampang was first mooted some 20 years ago under the Barisan Nasional government to solve future water woes in the state’s west coast.

Ongoing protests against the dam has delayed the project, for fears of submerging villages and affecting those downstream who rely on the river for their daily needs.

However, political leaders have said that a dam must be constructed to fulfil future water demand, and the dam proposal has since been relocated twice to the adjacent district, and most recently under the current GRS government, back to Kaiduan.

Sabah Works Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin said last year said the project will be moved further upstream and at the Kaiduan area since the water condition at Mandalipau situated near the mouth of the Papar river has been polluted by forest/land clearing activities for farming in Kaiduan.

Bung had explained that the dam should be constructed upstream at the Kaiduan area as it can last between 85 and 100 years, whereas a dam downstream at Mandalipau will only last 60 years.

Bung added that the area selected has already been surveyed and that it has been done for quite some time as part of the third phase of a 30-year plan for the supply of water for Kota Kinabalu which will include the dam, piping works and water plants.

The project will roughly cost around RM3 billion.

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