Environmental economics - The Bakun Dam Project in Sarawak

2437 WordsJun 22, 200410 Pages
For more than 30 years, there have been discussions concerning the development of the Bakun Dam in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. If built, the dam would be the largest in South-East Asia. The Bakun Dam: A Case Study indicates that generating 2400 megawatts of power, it would provide electricity for all of Sarawak, and for industries and cities in mainland Malaysia, through a cable under the South China Sea. At 650 kilometres, this would be by far the longest cable in the world. The Bakun Dam has been a highly controversial issue spanning over three decades as its validity and use to the people of Malaysia have been questioned. For the cost that involves producing this dam, at seven billion dollars and rising, is there a need for so…show more content…
163). These are the initial steps to consolidating Malaysia's economic and environmental future. Even after the project had been shelved in 1990, lobbying by its proponents continued, particularly by the Sarawak government, which urged the federal government to revive the project. Finally, in September 1993, the Malaysian cabinet approved construction of the Bakun Dam. In reviving the project, Malaysia's need for power was most often invoked as justification. By 1993 the Malaysian economy was growing by more than 8 percent per year, with electricity demand expanding even faster. The Borneo Bulletin affirms that blackouts in 1992 and 1993, and a predicted doubling of demand by 2000, were indications of a power crisis, justifying extraordinary efforts to expand supply. Project proponents also believed the Bakun Dam could help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, especially oil. Most evident however, was that this project was consistent with an energy policy relying almost entirely on supply. In Harun's argument, he referred to the quote from environmentalist Gurmit Singh (1995) to prove his theory: "The concept of energy conservation and certainly its implementation is virtually absent in Malaysia." This is why Malaysia needs to complete the dam, to enhance its economic and environmental status on the worldwide scale. Furthermore, the Bakun Dam has attracted the attention of numerous international

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