Baram Dam a threat for BN in coming polls — Mawan

Source: Borneo Post

KUCHING: If BN stronghold Baram falls in the coming 13th general election, the key reason would be the people’s strong opposition to the proposed RM3 billion Baram Dam.

The magnitude of the negative issues surrounding the dam is such that SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan could not state for sure whether to describe it as “grey white” or “quite white”.

What he is certain though is that Baram can be retained if all leaders from the BN coalition rally together to neutralise the negative issues, and not leave everything to SPDP to handle.

Mawan said the dam project was a threat because many villagers in the affected areas, especially young Kenyah, were against it.

“A lot of young people among the Kenyah community are against it (project), and of course we will try to neutralise the issues. When I say it (Baram seat) is white others will say it is grey. But definitely some leaders in the government need to help us to neutralise the situation.

“I hope people won’t see it as, ‘it is a SPDP seat, so it is your (SPDP) problem’. I believe it should involve everybody. It can’t be entirely SPDP alone (to neutralise the negative issues),” he told reporters at Sarawak Club Golf Resort Samarahan near here yesterday.

Mawan, who is also Minister of Social Development, opined that some unsolved issues relating to the Bakun Dam might be the main reason why some villagers were against the Baram Dam.

“As far as our party is concern, we will set up another operation room in Long Lama. We will be holding a discussion with Barisan Nasional headquarters about the need to neutralise some of the negative issues surrounding the dam.

“Time is not exactly on our side. I’ll be going to see few longhouses, probably next week.”

Baram MP and Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan recently said a special committee for the relocation of the effected villagers had been set up.

The committee, headed by him and assisted by Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, would look for the best ways to relocate some 20,000 people from 25 longhouses and riverine settlements.

The Orang Ulu community is the largest group in Baram, followed by the Iban. Sagan won the seat with a 4,044 vote-majority during the 12th general election in 2008.