Baleh dam to be built first — Awg Tengah


HUGE POTENTIAL: Map of Sarawak with potential HEP sites.

Govt decides project to commence once Murum dam completed instead of Baram HEP dam

KUCHING: The state government would develop the Baleh hydroelectric power (HEP) dam once the Murum HEP is completed in 2013, said Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.

He said the government’s decision to build the Baleh HEP dam first instead of the Baram HEP was because the Baleh HEP project would affect a limited number of people upstream of the dam.

In addition, he said both the social and environmental assessment (SEIA) and technical reports on the proposed projects have been completed.

“The beauty of the Baleh HEP is that it would not affect the livelihood of many people making it easier to implement as very little resettlement would be involved. Costs for these projects will be finalised upon the completion of all on-going studies,” Awang Tengah told the media at his Hari Raya open house here Wednesday night.

The generating capacity of Baram HEP dam is about 1,200 MW while the generating capacity of Baleh HEP dam is 1,295 MW.

He said if the Baram HEP dam were to be developed in future, it would need extra social studies, as it would involve some 20,000 people, mostly Kayans, Kenyahs, Kelabits and Penans.

The Murum HEP dam is about 70km upriver from Bakun HEP dam. It is now about 35 per cent completed.

The Murum HEP dam has a generating capacity of 944 MW.  Works on the project commenced on October 1, 2008 and the impoundment is expected to be carried out by June 1, 2012.

The whole project is anticipated to be completed by end of 2013.

Meanwhile, Minister of Land Development and Baleh assemblyman Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said it was indeed a wise decision to build the Baleh HEP dam first rather than the Baram HEP dam as the proposed project would not affect the livelihood of anyone for there are no settlements upstream of the proposed project.

“Secondly, the proposed Baleh HEP dam will be able solve the flood problem below the Kapit area especially in Sibu as it would be able to monitor the inflow of water,” he said.

Masing added that besides giving an extra 1,000MW of power to the state energy need, the project would be able to provide job opportunities to the locals especially from his constituency of Baleh.