KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg has disclosed that the state’s acquisition of Bakun HEP Dam from the federal government did not come easily as some have thought.
“Let me tell you honestly, it was not easy to negotiate with Kuala Lumpur (federal government) to get back Bakun.
“The federal (government) said ‘we need the golden share (in Bakun HEP) but I said if you want to take golden share, then there is no point (for us to) acquire Bakun because our hands will be tied’.
“This is because we have to get clearance from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to develop Bakun when we want to acquire the whole asset,” he said in his keynote address to state civil servants here yesterday.
Abang Johari said the reason the state government wanted to acquire Bakun HEP was not only for electricity power, but to develop the lake as a tourism resort that would be able to provide employment opportunities to people in the area.
“If we want to build hotel/resort and need to get clearance from MOF, it won’t work. So I had to negotiate… Thank God, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak believed and could see it (our plan) and asked me to take back Bakun.”
He said the acquisition price of RM2.5 billion was actually not a bad price as the cost of acquisition could have been higher but “I managed to get at that cost”.
“There are misleading statements in the newspapers (regarding the acquisition).I will reply to them in DUN (State Legislative Assembly) with all the details of this transaction.
“I’m not afraid because it was done in a transparent manner and finally we are the real powerhouse in this region.”
Now that Sarawak is a powerhouse in the region, the state must manage the power and look into sharing it with the neighbouring countries, he said.