Minister: Proposed cascading dam at Sg Tutoh will not require large-scale resettlement

Datuk Gerawat Gala. Photo credit: Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)

KUCHING, Jan 30: The proposed cascading dam at Sungai Tutoh differs significantly from Bakun or Murum dams in that they involve smaller dams along the river, reducing environmental and land impact and avoiding large-scale resettlement, according to Datuk Gerawat Gala.

The Deputy Minister in the Sarawak Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration, and Project Monitoring) stated that he, Telang Usan assemblyman Datuk Dennis Ngau, Baram MP Dato Anyi Ngau, as well as community leaders and the ‘rakyat’ (people) in Tutoh, fully support the proposed cascading dam at Sungai Tutoh.

“From my engagements with the people on the ground, they want the cascading dam proposed at Sungai Tutoh to proceed.

“The project will accelerate development of much needed infrastructure, improve connectivity, and open up economic opportunities for the community, as well as attract investors to bring in further development in the future, which could have a multiplier effect on the community,” he said in a statement issued today.

He went on to say that Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) is focusing its feasibility study on a specific area of Sungai Tutoh, upstream of Gunung Mulu National Park and downstream of Pulong Tau National Park, and that the exact location will be determined once the feasibility study is completed.

“In my previous media statement, I advised those opposed to the cascading dam to wait until the engagement sessions, which are scheduled to begin in February, to gain a better understanding before making premature objections.”

Gerawat also claimed that the same group of people are opposed to the ongoing Native Customary Rights (NCR) perimeter survey in Long Terawan as allegedly the Section 6 NCR perimeter survey will convert their NCR land into State land, and the government is using the Section 6 perimeter survey to take away their NCR land.

“Individual titles under Section 18 have been issued to individual NCR land owners, as evidenced by the numerous areas where Section 6 perimeter surveys have been conducted.

“Long Terawan’s closest neighbour, Long Panai, has already received their Section 18 title after their NCR land was surveyed under Section 6.

“This is clear evidence that the Section 6 perimeter survey is intended to facilitate the issuance of individual titles under Section 18 to individual NCR land owners,” Gerawat said.

Furthermore, Gerawat stated that individuals who continue to oppose Section 6 perimeter surveys have the option of requesting that their NCR land be excluded from the survey. However, they are not permitted to prevent others from having their NCR land surveyed under Section 6.

“It is important to have the Section 6 survey done because the community can only ask for their Native Territorial Domain (NTD) surveyed and issued with title after the Section 6 survey is completed and gazetted.

“This is because the boundary of the NTD starts from the inner boundary of the NTD and must start from the outer boundary of the Section 6 perimeter survey.

“Without the Section 6 perimeter survey, it is not possible for the community to apply for their NTD,” he added. — DayakDaily