Minister: No coercion on cascading dam, silent majority must not be diluted by outspoken few

(From sixth left) Liwan, Julaihi and Dr Abdul Rahman with other distinguished guests photographed during Minister's Address Ceremony at Imperial Hotel, Kuching on Jan 30, 2024.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Jan 30: The Sarawak government will not force local folks to accept the proposed construction of a cascading dam, but the silent majority must not be diluted by one or two outspoken individuals, says Utility and Telecommunication Minister Dato Sri Julaihi Narawi.

He said the Ministry through Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) has been entrusted to coordinate any engagement with the locals in a certain area including with the local representatives and local leaders before they can proceed to build any cascading dam.

“This means that if there is full cooperation by the locals, we will proceed with the construction of cascading dam. There is no element of force.

“We want to make it clear that there is no element of force and that the rest of the silent majority must not be diluted by the minority or one or two outspoken individuals in the near future,” he said when officiating the Minister of Utility and Telecommunication Sarawak’s Address Ceremony held at Imperial Hotel here today.

He further cited previous scenario where the hydroelectric dam construction project was called off in a particular area but afterwards, there are locals who are calling for the infrastructure to be developed.

“Thus, I hope there is no repetition of such incident in the near future if we were to proceed with the cascading dam,” he added.

To date, Julaihi said the Sarawak Energy has identified nine river basins to be studied whether it is viable enough to construct cascading dams in the future.

In fact, he pointed out that the Sarawak government has received requests from three areas to be considered for the development of cascading dams.

“Yes, it’s a real request.

“Probably one or two outspoken minority does not know or did not know that the request was submitted by the local leaders. However, they are not the only local leaders in the area,” he explained.

Also present were Deputy Ministers of Utility and Telecommunication Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi (Utility) and Datuk Liwan Lagang (Telecommunication).

Earlier today, it was reported that there is a minority group protested against the construction of cascading dam in Sungai Tutoh, Baram.

Following this, local community leaders were quick to clarify that the group’s stance does not represent the majority of the locals. — DayakDaily