Don’t hide location of new dam, SAPP tells Sabah govt

SAPP deputy president Edward Dagul.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) today urged the state government to reveal the exact location of the proposed Papar Dam so that the affected people can voice their views and give feedback.

SAPP deputy president Edward Dagul warned that keeping the people in the dark about this crucial information is dangerous as the mega-dam could potentially be catastrophic to the locals, the environment and the entire eco-system in the area.

Dagul, who hails from Papar, said he was astonished by the statement issued by Sabah Parks director Jamili Nais that he was not aware of the location of the proposed dam.

“Sabah Parks is responsible for the Crocker Range national park, which straddles the Penampang and Papar districts. The Papar River cuts across the Crocker Range.

“Infrastructure Minister Peter Anthony had announced that the Papar Dam is located away from Penampang, across the border. If that is the case, then the only river in the area that can supply a RM3 billion dam is the Papar River,” he said when contacted.

As such, Dagul said it was shocking that Sabah Parks was not told about this plan.

He questioned whether the Sabah Cabinet made the decision on the dam location without consulting the relevant government departments, agencies and officers.

He believed that any decision by the Cabinet should involve all ministries and all the relevant departments and agencies.

Sabah Parks comes under the tourism, culture and environment ministry, whose minister is also the deputy chief minister.

“How can this ministry be kept in the dark? After all, the proposed dam has a huge environmental impact. This surely involves the same ministry?”

Yesterday, a local daily reported that Jamili had admitted not knowing whether the proposed Papar Dam will affect Sabah Parks’ conservation park area.

He clarified that the location of the now-scrapped Kaiduan Dam, which was proposed under the BN government, did not affect the Crocker Range Park.

Despite saying that the government had identified the ideal location for the Papar Dam, its location has not been revealed. The number of people affected by the project is also not known.

There is also no information on the feasibility report and whether it has been done.

Environmentalists are demanding to know whether the government had done a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) study for this massive project and want any such report to be open to public scrutiny.