Local communities will lose out, Sarawak premier tells NGOs opposing cascading water source for energy

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, April 28 — Sarawak Premier Tan Abang Johari Openg today urged non-governmental organisations (NGOs) not to oppose the state government’s move to generate energy using cascading water sources.

He said it is the local communities who will eventually lose out if the NGOs keep on opposing the move to generate energy using running water sources.

“The moment you got the energy, the economic and other sectors will flourish and the living standard of the communities will be upgraded.

“Therefore, we need to use our brains to try to rationalise what we are doing,” he said at the national-level World Water Day celebration here.

Abang Johari said the state government does not want to jeopardise the livelihood of the people, but added that he will not force anyone to oppose the move by the state government to generate energy by using running water sources.

“It is their right,” he said.

He gave an assurance that the use of cascading water sources will not involve any relocation of the local communities nor will it be encroaching into their native customary rights land.

He said it is only confined to the rivers, which are state assets.

He said that the state government will start with the running water of Sungai Gaat to produce energy.

The premier also called for a proper management of Sarawak rivers to prevent disasters from happening.

He said Sarawak is fortunate because it has many rivers that are not shared with neighbouring countries.

“We need to manage our rivers in a sustainable manner,” he said.

He said Sarawak has been to utilise its rivers, like Batang Balui, Batang Baleh and Batang Ai to generate renewable energy through the construction of hydro-electric dams.

Among those present at the function were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Sarawak Deputy Premier Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.