SPDP sees storm clouds over Baram
KUCHING, Aug 17 — Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) is confident of retaining all four of its parliamentary seats in the coming general election but expects a tough fight in Baram due to issues related to the Baram dam, party president Tan Sri William Mawan said today.
He said the party and state Barisan Nasional (BN) needed to win the people’s trust and confidence by going to the ground to rectify the situation so as to allay their unfounded fears on the proposed dam, which would affect more than 20,000 people from 25 settlements.
“I have told our Baram member of parliament (Datuk Jacob Sagan) to visit the longhouses and villages in the area and address their fears or else the opposition will jump in, not because they can solve their problems but they will try to appear to be the champions,” Mawan, who is also state social development minister told a press conference here.
Apart from Baram, SPDP’s parliamentary constituencies are Bintulu, Mas Gading and Saratok.
He said people tended to spin negative publicity on the issue by capitalising on the people’s fears of being displaced as a result of the Bakun hydro electric dam project experience.
However, Mawan said, SPDP could present the grouses of the local community to the relevant authorities so that they could envisage the positive impact brought about by the dam project while the Baram hydroelectric project community consultative committee (BCCC), being headed by Sagan, had also been set up.
He was optimistic that the construction, which was expected to commence in 2018, would transform the rural areas with the people sharing in the development benefits.
“SPDP is doing its best together with other state BN component parties, including Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) to get everything solved,” he said, adding that the Baram project was expected to remain a thorny election issue.
Once operational the 1,000MW dam will be used mainly to generate electricity for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score). — Bernama