KOTA KINABALU (June 28): Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said today the State Government had never issued a statement announcing the cancellation of the Papar dam construction project.
Instead, it was the Kaiduan dam project, approved previously under the BN Government, which was cancelled by the new State Government led by Parti Warisan Sabah because of plenty of opposition from many parties including the local community, he explained.
Speaking to the media after attending an Aidilfitri celebration hosted by the State Infrastructure Development Ministry here, Mohd Shafie said the Papar dam could not be equated with the Kaiduan dam (intended for construction in the Penampang district) because the former would be constructed entirely in the Papar district and the project had been studied in detail with the long-term needs of the people taken into account.
He added that although the Papar dam project had received a small amount of resistance, it would benefit the people, particularly residents in the west coast of Sabah.
"We don't want the people later on to protest over not having water...Therefore, the current shortage of water must be addressed urgently," he said, going on to cite the example of the Bakun dam in Sarawak which also received resistance, including overseas protests, but had succeeded in supplying electricity all the way to Brunei Darussalam.
This, he said, was proof that the people would benefit in the long term.
He added that apart from supplying the water needs of the people, the Papar dam would also generate electricity.
On Wednesday, State Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony said construction of the dam would begin as soon as new plans were completed.
The dam, which will be built near Kampung Menderingin, is expected to supply 1,000 million litres of water every day, upon completion.