BELAGA: The sprouting of floating houses, known as “Jelatong”, in the reservoir of the massive Bakun hydroelectric dam should be treated as a cause for concern, said Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo recently.
CONCERN OVER JELATONG: The floating houses in Bakun lake.
He said the government should decide fast which authority should be responsible for the development of the lake because the uncontrolled mushrooming of the Jelatong could create a messy situation in the foreseeable future.
The water quality could also be affected as domestic waste and untreated sewerage built up, he cautioned.
Billy Abit said the problem was minute at the moment because the surface area of the lake of the world’s second tallest concrete rock-filled dam was about 695 sq km – about the size of the Republic of Singapore.
“I have voiced this issue a few times before.
“I think the government should identify which authority should look after the lake,” Billy Abit said when met at his longhouse in Uma Belor, Sungai Asap Resettlement, on Thursday.
A group, led by PRS Belaga Youth deputy chairman Danny Bungan, which visited the lake last week spotted more than 50 floating houses.
One of the group members, Kennedy Chuk Pai, revealed that the houses were owned by locals who were affected by the dam construction.
Some of them used the Jelatong for their weekend retreat or to rear ‘Baong’ (a catfish species), ‘Semah’and other indigenous species.
The enterprising ones have been bringing nature-loving tourists and fishing enthusiasts to the lake.
Billy Abit said certain guidelines and procedures should be crafted and the owners of the Jelatong must abide by it.
He noted that the body responsible for the RM7 billion dam, Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, seemed to be concerned only about areas near the dam itself.
by Conny Banji. Posted on August 22, 2011, Monday (The Borneo Post)