Border security road crucial to protect HEP dams, asserts Masing

Masing showing the locality map of Sarawak’s three major HEP dams which are located near the border with Kalimantan.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, July 16: Sarawak must protect its multi-billion ringgit assets especially its three major hydroelectric power (HEP) dams located near the border with Kalimantan, said Deputy Chief Minster Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.

As such he said, the construction of the border security road is crucial and vital to protect these valuable assets, such as the Bakun HEP Dam, Murum HEP Dam, the under construction Baleh HEP Dam and the Batang Ai HEP Dam are all located near the border.

“We have three huge assets located near the border. These need to be protected. (That’s why)…we need the border highway. Now the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) has seen the needs for it to be built after he went for a site visit to the proposed Baleh HEP Dam recently,” Masing told DayakDaily at his office here today.

For a start, Masing who is also Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development, revealed that he has proposed to the government to build a CIQ at Tapak Megah, Ulu Baleh, which is very near the Kalimantan border and is about 12 km from Long Nawang, in Kalimantan, which has a population of 5,000 people.

“We are lucky today because of a friendly administration on the other side. But we can’t take things for granted. Say in the next 10-15 years’ time, we might not have what we have now,” he stressed.

The PRS president and Baleh lawmaker pointed out that in other countries like China, they even stationed their security forces to protect their HEP dams.

“I went to visit China’s HEPs, they are guarded by soldiers. You cannot simply go there. Ours, anyone can simply go in there and you just imagine, if someone throw a bomb, that’s it will be darkness for Sarawak…in Iban we say, “Baka pitak buai dik mata” (Like an insect without its eyes we can’t do anything) .

“That’s why those HEP dams need to be protected. Unfortunately, all our dams are located near the border. Thus, we need border security road to be built to provide better security for these valuable assets,” he added. —DayakDaily.