KOTA KINABALU: The announcement by Infrastructure Development Minister Peter Anthony that a dam costing RM2 billion will be built at Kampung Bisuang in Papar proves that Parti Warisan Sabah has gone back on its promise to scrap the Kaiduan Dam project.
“They campaigned on that platform in the Penampang and Papar districts and pledged to stop the project if Warisan came to power after GE14.
“Now, just a few months in power, there is this U-turn,” said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary-general Johnny Mositun.
Mositun told FMT that it was clear from what he read in news reports that the dam Anthony announced on Thursday is essentially the same dam project proposed by the previous state government albeit with a different name.
“The project will still be on the same river and, to make it worse, the newly-proposed dam will be built near a heavily-populated area in Kinarut,” he said after leading a gotong-royong at Kampung Kaiduan here to clear the debris washed up against the causeway across the river.
The Pantai Manis PBS chief expressed concern that the dam site proposed by Anthony was actually much closer to Papar town and would be built lower downriver.
“It is not true that fewer people will have to be relocated as Anthony claimed. Kampung Bisuang is very close to Kinarut. More people live in this area.
“This is the natural growth area as population pressure increases and demand for land grows. It will be unsuitable. It is illogical to build a dam here compared with Kampung Kaiduan, which is much further away and isolated.”
He agreed with Diana Sipail of the Task Force against Kaiduan Dam (Takad), who had also opposed the new proposal.
The Takad spokesperson had pointed out that there were negligible differences in the size of the catchment area projected between the Kaiduan and Bisuang dams, and also the cost.
She had also rubbished the claim that fewer people would have to be relocated.
Mositun doubted any proper study had been made about the new proposal.
“It looks suspiciously like a rehash of the proposal for Kaiduan, with minor alterations to make it look like a new plan.
“In such a case, a completely new study would be required, including an environment impact assessment (EIA) report. That takes much more time than two months.”
Calling on Anthony to come clean on this new proposal for the Papar Dam at Kampung Bisuang, Mositun said the state government should be more transparent about the issue and sensitive to the people’s feelings and views.
“Unless the full details are made available, PBS will regard this new proposal as nothing more than a poorly disguised attempt by certain people looking to make money by justifying a ‘new’ mega project which in reality is nothing more than the proposed Kaiduan Dam that they had earlier opposed for political mileage,” he said.