Murum and Batang Ai PRS Youth chiefs second BTF request for RM2 mln annually

Hemang (left) and Jack (right).

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KUCHING, Nov 9: Murum and Batang Ai PRS Youth leaders see eye-to-eye with Bakun Trust Fund (BTF) chairman Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing’s request for an annual allocation to the communities affected by the Bakun and Murum hydroelectric power (HEP) dams.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Murum Youth chief Hemang Yu Abit said the RM2 million annual allocation requested from Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) is just a small fraction of the high revenue generated from the implementation of HEP dams.

“SEB and the state government should have no problem to fulfill that request,” he asserted.

He added Sarawak has been consistently gaining huge benefits in the form of foreign direct investments (FDI) through the low-cost electricity generated by the HEP dams.

“Sarawak consistently pulled in billions of ringgits from investors especially in the form of FDI, attributed to investment in energy intensive industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) area; which the key factor of this is the low-cost electricity generated by these dams.

“In all, the corridor has generated a cumulative investment value of RM32.9 billion between its launch in 2008 and the end of 2014, with RM27 billion being directed towards energy-intensive plants in the Samalaju Industrial Park,” he pointed out in a joint statement with Batang Ai PRS Youth chief Jack Meredan today.

Concurring with what Hemang expressed, Jack also stated his request for an additional RM1 million annual allocation for communities in Lubok Antu.

He asserted these allocations are additional corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts by SEB which is beneficial in helping the people there who are facing financial difficulties resulting from dam construction.

“For people affected directly by the construction of HEP dams at Bakun, Murum and Batang Ai, we don’t think it is too much to ask from SEB and the state government (as they will be giving) this amount back to the people for education purposes.

“Without aid from the government, most students in these areas have financial difficulties to further their studies. This is where trust funds like BTF plays a critical role,” Jack added. — DayakDaily