Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the Parti Warisan Sabah-led State Government had actually fulfilled its election promise to scrap the proposed Kaiduan dam in Penampang, which is different from the alternative Papar dam.
“On the Papar dam, there are certain people saying that we promised to scrap it. We have scrapped the proposed Kaiduan dam, but we never mentioned the Papar dam. There was no announcement made on the Papar dam.
“Only that we realised that the Papar dam will be on the same river, as the proposed Kaiduan dam, but it (Papar dam) is in a different district,” he told reporters after attending the State Infrastructure Development Ministry’s Hari Raya open house held at JKR Hall in Sembulan, Friday.
Mohd Shafie said the State Government realised and know that it is important to have sufficient water and electricity supplies in the West Coast and not only in Papar, also in Penampang and Kota Kinabalu as well as their surrounding areas.
“(Because) there are many interests to invest in these areas. we need water and electricity supplies. This (Papar) dam can supply both water and electricity. If we do not plan it, there will be no basic infrastructure development coming to these areas,” he said.
“I remember previously the people were protesting the Bakun dam until up to the United Nations, but today Sarawak has the facility until it can generate electricity up to Brunei and Sabah.
“Imagine this plan (Papar dam), if it does not cause any harm to any human in the area, I think it is important for us to do it to save Sabah, so we have sufficient water and electricity. We cannot wait.
“Today, there are several people protesting, but I am confident there will thousands or even millions of people protesting in future if there is not enough water supply,” said the Chief Minister.
Asked how many dams the State Government intend to build because Kemabong Assemblyman Jamawi Jaafar was recently reported as saying a proposed RM450 million Telekosang dam will be built in Kemabong soon for electricity generation, Mohd Shafie said he was not aware about that project (Telekosang dam).
But he said there are several (locations for proposed construction of dams) identified.
“In the Interior, there is already at Ulu Padas and we will continue it. In Lahad Datu, where there are also water and electricity problems, there are many deep rivers which have potential, although they probably are not that high as in the Ulu Padas.
“Like the Segama which is among the biggest rivers in Sabah. We will look for places to do this (construct dams) where the cost will not be high and will be nearest to the where the demand area...we will study this.
“We already have a dam in Tawau. But we have not identified how many (dams to be constructed),” he said, adding the State cannot wait, it needs to act now for the future water and electricity needs of the State.
When asked whether the State Government would now no longer think of using coal as an alternative for power supply considering it will have more hydropower dams, Mohd Shafie said it (coal) is just an alternative, but it is not something that we will implement.
“We will look at it (coal) as just something that we need to study in-depth. (Because) Coal is being used in Sarawak, Malaya and Singapore,” he said. State Infrastructure Development Minister, Datuk Peter Anthony and other State leaders were also present.