“Imperative to clear Bakun logjam, don’t wait for MCO to be lifted”

Pemanca Tony Kulleh

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Jan 20: There is no need to wait for the Movement Control Order (MCO) to be lifted to clear the logjam in the upper reaches of the Bakun Dam as Belaga district is not under the said order, asserted Bakun Lake Native Association (BLNA) chairman Pemanca Tony Kulleh.

He said it was absurd for Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin to issue a statement explaining the clearing of the debris has to be postponed due to the imposition of MCO in Sibu and Conditional MCO in other areas.

“We have never been under Sibu jurisdiction. Bakun HEP Dam is under Belaga District and it is not under MCO. In fact, the local people can do the job but the government must provide the necessary funding,” Tony told DayakDaily here today.

He added that it was not just the five villages which are affected by the logjam but also inland fishermen from the Sg Asap Resettlement Scheme as well.

“Because of the huge (amount of) debris, our fishermen from Sg Asap Resettlement Scheme have not been able to go fishing and that has affected their livelihood,” he disclosed.

Tony was responding to Lee’s statement earlier today that the clearing works on the logjam will be done after the MCO and CMCO is lifted at the end of January.

The five villages affected by the logjam are Long Keboho, Naha Jalei, Naha Nyalong, Long Bulan and Long Jawe, involving 220 doors in total.

“For this purpose, SRB (Sarawak Rivers Board) and the relevant agencies will work with the communities in the affected areas by tagging the logs which will be spiked with iron nails and to be secured onto the riverbank with rope to create safe passage for the movement of boats in the area,” said Lee in a statement today.

He said the decision was made following a meeting called by his ministry on Dec 18, 2020, which include all stakeholders such the Forest Department, SRB, Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB), Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), Land and Survey Department and Sarawak Energy Berhad.

Lee said, SRB is currently making the necessary preparation so that the clearing work can be carried out as soon as possible once the CMCO/MCO is lifted.

The logjam problem in upper Bakun HEP Dam was first highlighted by Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang on Nov 16, 2020 and subsequently, he made another appeal on Jan 18, 2021 as he claimed his complaints have fall on deaf ears.

Lee had reiterated that the said logjam is not a new issue as it has been present since the impounding of the Bakun Dam in 2010. — DayakDaily