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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taib revives talk of taking over Bakun from federal government


KUCHING (Malaysian Mirror) – Pulling out of politics is not the only thing on the Sarawak chief minister’s mind these days. Abdul Taib Mahmud has put the word out that the state is also considering taking over ownership of Bakun Hydroelectric Dam.

The federal government is said to be willing to let go for RM8bil, RM2bil more than the price asked by the state.

Sometime last year, it was announced that the government would just lease it.

“We’re trying to find out whether it is possible to buy Bakun. We are approaching the federal government whether it wants to resell (Bakun),” he told reporters at Wisma Bapa Malaysia.

An Internet news portal had reported that the state wanted to buy the dam for RM6bil, but the federal government was looking at an indicative price of RM8bil.

The dam, which is owned by the federal government through the Finance Ministry’s Sarawak Hidro Bhd, is expected to be finally completed by the end of the year, after 16 years of construction.

It can produce 2,400MW of electricity.

On Dec 12 last year, it was reported in the media that the state was packaging a deal to lease Bakun hydroelectric dam from the federal government.

It was also reported that all the power from Bakun would go to the state in order to serve the state’s own industrial needs, especially in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy areas.

On another matter, Taib declined to comment about on-going tariff negotiations for electricity generated by Bakun.

“I have no comment at this stage… We don’t bring negotiations to the newspapers, you all know that,” he said, according to Borneo Post.

The news portal had quoted Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkifle Othman as saying that the company had targeted the end of this year to seal the power purchase agreement with Sarawak Energy.

He was also quoted as saying that the state government needed to make adjustments to the current river transportation arrangement before allowing the impoundment as it would affect the river flow and water level of Batang Rajang.

He denied the agreement delayed the impoundment of the dam, the cost of which had ballooned from an initial RM2.4bil when it was announced in 1986 to more than RM7bil when completed this December.

“If we are given the green light, we are looking at October to start the impoundment, subject to the water level,” he was reported to have told the news portal..

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