Leaked document details Sarawak's excessive hydropower plans
Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) plans to realize twelve new hydropower projects by the year 2020
A confidential document accidentally published on a Chinese website provides hitherto unknown details on the Sarawak state government's hydropower plans in the Borneo rainforest. The Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has been able to obtain the document, a presentation given by Sarawak Energy Berhad's (SEB) managing director Abdul Aziz Husain on the occasion of the high-level China - ASEAN Power Cooperation and Development Forum in Nanning (Guangxi, China) on 29 October 2007. In the meantime, the presentation has been removed from the internet and is now exclusively accessible on the BMF website (see download link further down).
UNESCO World Heritage site to be partially submerged
The SEB presentation indicates the locations of twelve proposed hydropower projects in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak planned for the 2008 to 2020 period. It is to be expected that all of the proposed dams will adversely affect indigenous communities living in Borneo's unique tropical rainforest environment. If they are to be realized, several thousand natives of Sarawak's interior will lose their traditional lands and will have to be relocated in other areas. One of the proposed projects, a 220 MW-dam on the Tutoh river in North-eastern Sarawak, would submerge parts of the Mulu National Park that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Natives doomed to pay the price for the production of export energy
Sarawak Energy's hydropower projects scheduled for the 2008 to 2020 period have a power generation capacity of 7000 MW - far above the East Malaysian state's levels of energy consumption. Sarawak's energy consumption amounted to 1120 MW in 2005 and is expected to rise to 1550 MW by the year 2010. While the Sarawak government rushes to set up energy-intensive industries, excess production is planned for export to West Malaysia, Brunei and Kalimantan.
Lack of transparent procedures
In the past, the Sarawak state government has been repeatedly criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability in land and forest governance matters. Unlike Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak legislation excludes public participation in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.
EXCLUSIVE DOWNLOAD: Sarawak Energy presentation on Chinese Power Plants in Malaysia (6.6MB):