Monday, July 22

Bakun islands to be tourism draw

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SCENIC VIEW: An aerial view of the Bakun Dam area.

KUCHING: More than 20 islands created as a result of Bakun dam impoundment.

More than 10 major islands will become permanent features of the Bakun hydroelectric dam area covering an area almost the size of Singapore.

Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkifle Osman said that more than 20 islands had been created as a result of the impoundment of the dam since Oct 13 last year.

He, however, said that when the dam had reached its maximum requirement of 228 metres, many islands would be submerged. Currently, the water level is at the 219 metre mark.

“Of course these islands have great potential to be tapped as tourism products,” Zulkifle said when contacted yesterday.

Chairman of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) who is also Assistant Minster
of Tourism, Datuk Talip
Zulpilip, had said that they would build a resort in Bakun dam area soon.

Minister of Tourism and Minister of Housing Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg had also said on many occasions that the state would explore the possibility of providing air linkages via amphibious planes to the Bakun dam area.

On another issue, Zulkifle said the people of Kapit were now able to travel up to Belaga by express boats, after the water level had risen to an almost normal level, after water from the dam was released through the spillway recently.

About 20,000 people have been ‘stranded’ during the dam impoundment exercise due to the low water level between Kapit and Belaga.

Kapit Resident Dahim Nadot, meanwhile, lauded SEDC’s move (to set up resort in the dam area) and hoped that the people of Belaga and Sg Asap who had been affected by the dam would not be left out but invited to become active participants of the project.

He was also optimistic that when the water level has reached the normal level, tourists would come back to Kapit to enjoy the scenery upriver especially the Pelagus Rapids.

He said that during the impoundment period almost no tourists travelled up to Kapit. If they had to go to Belaga they would take the land route from Bintulu.