UNESCO seeks clarification on Sarawak dam project
MEDIA RELEASE, BRUNO MANSER FUND (BMF), BASEL / SWITZERLAND
4 July 2008
clarification on Sarawak dam project
UNESCO World Heritage Centre requests Malaysian authorities to clarify hydropower plans at Gunung Mulu National Park
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks a clarification from Malaysia on a controversial dam project in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. “On 25 June 2008, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre requested the Malaysian authorities to clarify the situation and provide us with any further information on the hydropower plans at Gunung Mulu National Park World Heritage site,” a spokesman of the Paris-based UN organisation confirmed to BMF.
A leaked confidential document, which was made public by the Bruno Manser Fund, has recently shown Sarawak Energy Berhad’s (SEB) plan to realize a 220 MW dam on Sarawak’s Tutoh river. The proposed dam would submerge parts of the Gunung Mulu National Park that is one of only two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Malaysia.
The proposed Tutoh dam is part of SEB’s controversial scheme to realize twelve new hydropower projects in Sarawak in the years 2008 to 2020. If these plans were to be realized, several thousand natives would lose their traditional lands in the Bornean rainforest and would have to be relocated. While Sarawak’s energy consumption amounted to 1120 MW in 2005, the new projects have a power generation capacity of 7000 MW.