A fair deal

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

A RECENT High Court ruling has put the breaks on the construction of the controversial Bakun dam. The country's High Court ruled on June 19 that the us $5.5 billion dam violated environmental laws of the land. The suit was filed by three Sarawak longhouse tribals. The court upheld the tribals' views that they should have been heard by the dam authorities before the project was approved. Only a week ago, the government had awarded the main contract for the dam to a consortium led by Swiss- based Asea Brown Boveri Ltd and Brazil's CBPO.

The proposed dam in Sarawak state would clear 69,000 ha of forest land, flood an area the size of Singapore and compel nearly 9,000 tribal residents to move. The final implications of the ruling are not clear. Opponents of the dam believe that all construction work on the dam would stop immediately. The project manager, Ekran Bhd, said that the court ruling could slow down the project but it would not put off the work altogether.

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