Saturday, June 25, 2011

DUN (Day Four): Mussen: Give fair compensation to folk affected by Batang Ai HEP

Mussen: Give fair compensation to folk affected by Batang Ai HEP
Posted on June 25, 2011, Saturday

THOSE affected by the construction of the Batang Ai Hydroelectric Dam should be given fair compensation, said Malcom Mussen Lamoh (BN-Batang Ai) yesterday.

He stressed that residents of urban and suburban areas who directly benefited from the electricity generated by the dam should pay back the affected community adequately.

“The compensation is either in the form of royalty fees or a minimal stake in its ownership throughout the economic life of this project. An alternative solution is to set up Batang Ai Trust Fund which can be used to provide financial assistance for education, economic and social programmes for local people especially those residents directly affected by the Batang Ai HEP project,” he said.
Debating the motion of thanks on the Head of State’s address yesterday, he claimed that the limited source of income in the resettlement area had caused some residents who were frustrated with their predicament to vote for the opposition in past elections.

He pointed out that Batang Ai HEP where only the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted served as a good example that all mega projects should also include the social aspect.

“The development concept of incorporating the 3P approach (People, Planet, Profit) should be considered in the right sequence or priority where the impact on the society or community should take prominence over economic benefits of such project.

“In the case of Batang Ai HEP, mistakes might have been made where the poor rural community was persuaded to make sacrifices to serve the interest of richer community in the urban and sub-urban areas who ultimately use most of the electricity generated by that project.

“Since damage had been done, concerted efforts must be made to rectify these problems and improve the livelihood of this affected community through implementation of income-generating projects and provision of support infrastructure and basic amenities in the Batang Ai constituency,” he said.

The projects are to complete the roads from Ng Kesit to Ng Talong, Ulu Engkari and Ng Kesit to Bilararap, Ulu Lemanak, to construct the 15km road from Changkol to Engkilili town including three main bridges and the 18km feeder road from Bara to Sayat/Klampu area.

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