PKR state information chief See Chee How, at a press conference here Tuesday, said this shows the poor governance and incompetence among the present state administrators.
“They have failed to contain the problem of the massive timber mass and debris that clogged the Rajang River,” said See who also warned that Sarawakians will suffer greater losses in terms of socio-economic costs and ecological damage.
He pointed out that whenever it rains in the upper reaches of the major rivers, floods are reported in the towns along and at the lower reaches of the rivers, in Sibu and the central region, and now also in Sri Aman and Miri.
See also accused Second Finance Minister Wong Soon Koh of being irresponsible by saying that the mess would be cleared after the debris and logs are washed into the South China Sea.
“If everything is solved by it floating into the sea, does that mean that all unwanted materials can be dumped and let it flow into the sea?” he asked.
Sarawak Land Development Minister James Jemut Masing was not spared for calling on cabinet members not to take an “ostrich approach” in dealing with the Rajang River mess.
Showing the reports in a local paper, See said it was time for Masing not to keep his own head in the sand and tell the people what he has done in the state cabinet.
Masing, who is also state assemblyman for Baleh, had called on the government to act sternly against the culprits behind the massive debris where tons of dead fish were seen floating in rivers from Ulu Baleh to Kanowit stretching over 100km.
He added that the State Disaster and Relief Management Committee had identified the sources from where the massive flow of log and debris were believed to originate from. They are Puntai and Nungan in the upper reach of Baleh River.
See noted that this was the third ecological havoc that has affected the people of Baleh. The first two were in Sungai Ga’at in 2008 and Sungai Tunoh last year.
See said the Baleh folk have suffered much from the incident and he hoped that such an incident would not occur again in future.
On another issue, See wanted a Royal Commission of Inquiry or a Parliamentary Commissioner of Inquiry set up to find the final cost of the Bakun Hydro-electric Project and where the money had been spent.
Calling it an “economic rip-off” and not a development for Sarawak, See said the whole dam project smacks of a get-rich-quick scheme as the state “has exhausted our timber resources and almost all our agricultural land have been leased out”.
He pointed out that from the original costing of RM3.95 billion estimated in 1983 and RM4.09 billion in 1985, plus the cost overruns, compensation for delays and interests, the final cost is believed to have escalated to RM15 billion today.
“But Malaysians are kept in the dark as to the final costs and where the substantial additional sums have gone to,” See said.
“Even with the cost now placed by the Federal government at RM7.3 billion. . . there is a need to re-examine the cost-benefit analysis and the economic viability of the Bakun Dam project.”
“It is to be borne in mind that only one out of the originally planned 8 hydro turbine will be commissioned next year, reducing its power generating capacity from 2,400MW to 300MW,” he said.
He cited an example in India where they had more than 3,000 dams, 60% of them are economically non-viable financial disasters and not able to back the investment.
“The Sarawak BN government owes all Sarawakians an explanation, and we would demand that the Second Planning and Resource Management Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan gives us his justifications for saying that the Bakun HEP is not a white elephant.” said See.
He said this is because Sarawakians, amongst all Malaysians, have paid their share of the costs of the RM15 billion project and “we are now to fork out another RM7 billion to buy over the federal project.”
He assured that Pakatan Rakyat would highlight such matters in the coming state elections. He said the people has a right to know the “mismanagement and poor governance in implementation of Bakun”.
He said the planning of the other HEP projects will expose the myths of development propagated by the BN government and convinced the electorates the need for a change in the governance of Sarawak and management of resources.
courtesy of Hornbill Unleashed