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Bakun timber robbing - MGG Pillai
By web aNtu

1/7/2000 3:16 pm Sat

Subject: [sangkancil] [MGG} The Importance Of The Bakun Hydroelectric Dam

The Prime Minister forgets the terminological inexactitudes he spouts that the thin line between truth and lies becomes blurred as occasion demands. The Bakun hydroelectric dam, begun so that that brilliant no-dam builder could log the large catchment of timber in the area, is now back on track. It would be a waste, you see, to abandon it because the government spent hundreds of millions of ringgit and work already begun. If that is the criterion, why does not the Prime Minister pay as much attention to the monorail project which that internationally known business man of unquestioned repute undertook to build the monorail project, overwhich despite its privatised construction, has cost the government more than RM600 million; that is abandoned, no two pillars are joined, but they are useful as advertising Mutiara handphones, which the self-same international business man of unequestioned repute also controls.

Truth comes trickling through the woodwork. We are now told that Ekran Ltd, a property company controlled by that great no-dam builder, Tan Sri Dr Candonodam Ting Pek Khiing, was the main contractor for the project. If he is the main contractor, how was he the project manager at the same time? If the project was so important, why was he allowed to have all his subsidiary companies, none with an engineering or project management background, awarded so many contracts and the foreign experts reduced to equipment procurers? How was he given the contract when he was not only a man of straw but incompetent and clueless? He sued me for RM100 million for suggesting he was without funds, but dropped it when he realised I would run him through the loop when he appeared in court. He was given Bakun Dam is a convoluted arrangement to enable him to recover payment for the huge projects he undertook in Langkawi, at the Prime Minister's whim and without Treasury approval. The detritus of his handiwork in Langkawi is such that it has cost the overseeing agency there, the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) hundreds of millions of ringgit in routine maintenance for his shoddy work. Building a dam was never high on the government's priorities. We are told otherwise now. Ekran was compensated for failing to build the dam. Tan Sri Dr Candonodam Ting, was further compensated several hundred million ringgit for proving he could not build the dam. Why did not the federal government demand compensation from the good illiterate doctor for the timber he extracted for building the dam? Or was the building of Bakun dam a huge scam.

The Prime Minister through his hat, as usual, when he says the Bakun Dam is needed because more electricity is consumed these days than ever. He is right of course. But the Bakun Dam would not help overcome that shortage. The Bakun Dam is in Sarawak. The demand is in the peninsula. Originally it was to be connected with an unworkable underground under-water 600 km cable to West Malaysia. A kooky proposition to begin with, but Malaysia's capacity to do the impossible was the order of the day, and the project went ahead with all caution thrown to the winds. There is still no convenient way to transfer the electricity across the seas to the peninsular. So, the shortage in the peninsula would remain unless fresh resources of electricity is found here.

The Prime Minister therefore confuses the issue. The cost has escalated to between RM14 billion, after nearly a billion spent, for a smaller hydroelectric power station. The government would not handle the project, says the prime minister, "because foreigners would want this project to be pushed to the government so that this government will be paralysed." Privatisation, in the Prime Minister's view, is to hand to a crony, courtier or sibling who would guarantee only one thing: that he would mess it up irrevocable, as has every privatisation. But a simple question, Prime Minister: where is the money coming from? The government has no money, the cronies, courtiers, siblings have no money, the banks have no money to lend, the world is disinterested in lending money, he does not want the foreigners involved because they are jealous of our success, the EPF is near bankrupt, the Treasury is near bankrupt, and our foreign exchange is in a parlous state. So, where is the money coming from? Or is this window dressing to lull Malaysians into a psychedelic stupor to sidetract the Prime Minsiter's growing irrelevance??

M.G.G. Pillai