MIRI: Bakun folk have sent a petition through their PRS elected representatives to request for a share of royalty from electricity generated by Bakun Dam.
Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo, who is a PRS senior vice-president, and Belaga assemblyman Liwan Lagang, handed over the petition personally to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak in Putrajaya two days ago.
Abit told The Star yesterday that the premier said he would study the content of the petition and give it due consideration.
“The Prime Minister is a person very concerned about the welfare of the natives of Sarawak. I believe he may agree to the request from the locals.
“In the petition, the Bakun folk appealed to the Federal Ministry of Finance (that is in charge of Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, the manager of Bakun Dam) to allocate a specific percentage of royalty from the electricity from Bakun (to be sold to the Sarawak government) for the purpose of funding socio-economic projects.
“These Bakun natives said they had sacrificed a lot for the dam and now that it is set to generate income, they feel that it is only right that they get some benefits in return.
“They appealed to the Prime Minister to set up a special Bakun fund from the royalty and use it to build better public amenities and infrastructure for them. We in PRS feel that this request is fully justified. We support their petition,” he said.
Asked how much in royalty was requested, he said the information was confidential as it was up to the Prime Minister to consider.
On who would manage the funds, Abit said the Bakun folk want to set up a joint-venture agency with the state and federal governments.
“Ideally, there should be a special agency to manage the entire Bakun Dam area. This special agency should be a joint venture initiative made up of all stakeholders — the dam manager, the Bakun natives, the elected representatives, and the state and federal governments.
“This agency should be the main body to decide on projects to develop the Bakun into a tourist destination, an aquaculture hub and a new commercial centre and to ensure that everyone in Bakun benefit from the dam,” he said.
Abit said since the dam construction was finished and would begin generating power soon, this special agency should be set up
By STEPHEN THEN