Wednesday, April 24

Masing stresses need for dams, better resettlement deals


KUCHING: The state has to improve and redefine its resettlement programmes to ensure those displaced by constructions of dams are properly resettled and taken care of.

The call was made by Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing who said the state government had to build dams to generate enough energy to meet the needs of the people and industrial development.

Masing who is also Baleh assemblyman stated that the government would ensure all resettlement programmes were properly implemented.

“The government must ensure it does things correctly. The state needs these projects to generate electricity. We are aware of the need to do this properly so nobody loses.

“NGOs have their rights and can do whatever they want but I don’t think their reasons are valid for the state to consider seriously,” he told reporters when met after the second day of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here.

Masing was responding to The Sun online news report on Nov 19 on a coalition of NGOs calling to halt mega dam projects they claimed were taking over native customary rights (NCR) lands.

The Baram Protection Action Team (BPAT) and Save Sarawak River Network (SSRN) – which called their campaign ‘Damn the Dams Action Group’, tried to hand over a memorandum to the federal government to halt mega dam projects initiated.

These groups only managed to hand over the memorandum to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Masing said the capacity of solar and wind power energy could not match hydro power and the state could not generate enough energy for its needs from the two sources.