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Minister insists that Bengoh Dam is stable

 | November 23, 2017

Stephen Rundi Utom rejects Sarawak Report article on cracks and leaks.

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Stephen brushed aside a Sarawak Report article suggesting that the dam’s structure is weak.

PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Utilities Minister Stephen Rundi Utom has insisted that the newly completed Bengoh Dam in Sarawak is structurally sound and stable.

Speaking to FMT, he brushed aside a Sarawak Report article suggesting that the dam’s structure is weak.

The article was based on materials provided by still and video cameramen who managed to get past barriers put up to prevent the public from going to the site after concerns were raised early this month about the appearance of dampness on a large patch of the dam’s external wall.

The footage shows water pouring from several points on the lower face of the dam, cracks and seepage on one side of the downstream face and moss and rust on the damp patch that originally raised the alarm.

Apparently, members of the trespassing crew also managed to get into the control room, located at the base of the dam. Sarawak Report quoted them as saying they saw water seeping through the inside walls.

At a press conference last Sunday, Stephen said the dampness seen on the external wall was due to “some water flow” from a contraction joint. He said this was something to be expected and the dam’s integrity was not compromised.

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See says the leaks were “plainly” not linked to specific joints.

However, Sarawak Report quoted Batu Lintang MP See Chee How as saying the leaks were “plainly” not linked to specific joints.

Stephen told FMT he stood by his earlier statement, in which he said a specialist from Halcrow Consultants of Britain inspected the site last month and confirmed that the leakage was normal and to be expected.

In defending the integrity of the dam, he also cited Halcrow geologist Michael Palmer, whom he described as someone who was “very much involved” in its design and construction.

Sarawak Report said it contacted Palmer and was told he had not been to Sarawak for several years.

However, he told the whistleblower site that his colleague Anthony Morrison, a former Halcrow employee who now works with CH2M-Jacobs, was in Sarawak in October.

He said Halcrow no longer had “much to do” with Bengoh.


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