Secret map of Sarawak hydro project published
Swiss NGO the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has revealed an exclusive map showing the extent of the proposed Baram mega dam, the realization of which would cause a social and environmental disaster in Malaysian Borneo, it says.
The proposed 1000-MW Baram dam is one of twelve dams authorities in the Malaysian state of Sarawak are planning to build following the completion of the 2.4-GW Bakun dam.
According to the map, which is based on intelligence and calculations by BMF, the 162 meter high Baram dam would flood a rainforest area of 412 km2 (41,200 hectares) and at least 26 indigenous villages, causing the displacement of up to 20,000 Sarawak natives – twice as many as were displaced by the Bakum dam.
BMF says the proposed dam is being planned by the Sarawak state government and Sarawak Energy, the implementing agency, in violation of international transparency standards. While the Sarawak government has started legal procedures to extinguish native rights for an access road to the dam site, the affected communities have been being kept in the dark over the extent of the dam plans.
The proposed dam would cause havoc for the Kenyah, Kayan and Penan culture in the upper reaches of the Baram river, one of Borneo's great rainforest streams. Many of their villages would be submerged and would literally cease to exist.
Traditional longhouse communities in the dam's downstream areas would also have to face drastic changes and pollution of the riverine ecosystem, affecting river transport, fishery, irrigation and access to drinking water.