environmentalists and Sarawak residents recently suffered a setback in the legal battle over the Bakun hydroelectric dam project when Malaysia's appeals court recently overruled a High Court environmental ruling against Ekran Bhd, the developer of the dam. The ruling has given Ekran the green signal for the construction of the dam.
The Appeals Court said that the environmental quality act referred to by the High Court in its judgement was not applicable in the case because that law was part of the federal constitution, while the dam itself was located in the eastern state of Sarawak.
Last June, the High Court had ruled that the Sarawak state government had no power to approve the environmental impact assessment of the dam, thus stalling work on the project. That ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by three Sarawak tribals who were against the construction of the dam. They are planning to appeal against the latest ruling. Ekran chairperson Ting Pek Khiing has predicted that the dam may even be completed before 2003, the scheduled year.
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