U.S. Water News Online
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia will proceed with the
construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam on Borneo island,
but the project will be restructured to better suit the country's
future energy requirements, the government said.
Authorities have been scaling back the $2.3 billion Bakun Dam
project after it was derailed in the late 1990s by the Asian
financial crisis and protests by environmentalists.
"It is on, not canceled ... except we will look at how we want to
restructure it," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak told a business
conference, adding that the government was looking at how it could
best suit "our future energy needs."
"We will announce the details later."
According to initial plans in the 1990s, the dam would have
supplied peninsular Malaysia with electricity via undersea cables
But environmentalists and advocates of Borneo's indigenous people
protested the project, saying it would flood an area the size of
Singapore and displace thousands of people.
Singapore, which is south of Malaysia, covers about 260 square
Authorities in late 2002 began planning a smaller version of the
Bakun Dam, which currently is scheduled for completion by 2007, to
supply electricity only to Borneo.
Officials have said the project will speed development in Borneo's
Malaysian states, Sarawak and Sabah. Any surplus is expected to be
sold to parts of Borneo ruled by Indonesia and Brunei.
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