The dam called Bakun will finally be ready…but are we ready for it?

Posted on May 25, 2011


I was a much younger lad when work started on a mega project deep in the jungles of our beloved State.

It was an ambitious project to build the biggest dam in the country and in the process make the name Bakun famous forever.

Famous (or some say infamous) in Sarawak, at least.

Yesterday, it was published in the mainstream media that the dam called Bakun will finally be ready to unleash the potential that it has been promising all these years.

Finally, Sarawak will be able to take advantage of being host to such a megastructure.

I say “host” because we should not forget that the dam called Bakun, after all, belongs to the Federal Government of Malaysia and not to the State Government of Sarawak.

So, actually the benefits would be felt by ALL Malaysians, and not just Sarawakians.

It’s a real 1Malaysia project that is based in Sarawak.

How wonderful.

So finally, we will be able to generate power from this dam called Bakun.

And this power will be used by the industries.

What this really means is more jobs for Sarawakians and more revenue for our great State of Sarawak.

Now what we need to make sure is that our people are ready to take up all the jobs that will be created by all these new industries.

Our young people…are they ready to be engineers in the new factories?

Are they studying now to take part in the next exciting stage of our State’s development?

Are our people ready to take advantage of that humongous body of water and I don’t mean just for swimming or fishing or boating.

I mean more like tapping the tourism potential and aquaculture opportunities.

I really hope so.

I wouldn’t be a great thing to finally get the dam called Bakun up and going and yet not being able to take advantage of all the wonderful things that it can bring us.

On that note, I hope our political and corporate leaders will be able to prepare our people so that we can all benefit from the good things that the dam called Bakun will potentially bring us.

Yes, let’s all pray for that and work for that my fellow Sarawakians.

How The Borneo Post welcomed the good news:

Bakun dam to hit maximum power output by next July

Posted on May 24, 2011, Tuesday

ALMOST READY FOR ELECTRICITY GENERATION: File picture of the Bakun dam as seen from the lake. — Photo courtesy of Ten Wuan Ping.

KUCHING: The Bakun hydro dam will be able to produce its maximum power output by July next year, assured Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd managing director/chief executive officer Zulkifle Osman.

As of yesterday, he said the water level has reached 201.5 metres, just short of 8 metres to reach the maximum level of 228 metres.

He also said, currently, some 497 sq km have been covered by water, equivalent to 62.6 per cent of the target area; requiring about 200 sq km more to be filled to complete the artificial lake which will eventually cover an area of 695 sq km.

“We are now in the final stage of preparation to test the first turbine which will eventually be able to produce some 300 megawatts of electricity by July this year,” Zulkifle told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

He said he and his top aides, made up of 20 local and six foreign expatriates, were now monitoring the dam before the first turbine is expected to harness energy by July.

“Everything has to be done and monitored very carefully as any mistake may cause major catastrophes which we cannot afford to make,” stressed Zulkifle.

Zulkifle also disclosed that Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, which is a fully federal-funded project, is still negotiating with the state government on the future of the RM7.2 billion mega project.

“Talks are still ongoing so we cannot  say when the deal will be reached between the state government and the federal government on the ownership of the project,” he said.

Sarawak has negotiated with the federal government to buy over the dam for its energy-intensive projects in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) area.

Among the major projects to be implemented under SCORE are aluminium smelting, pulp and paper manufacturing and glass panel manufacturing.

Zulkifle, who had led a team of engineers on the Pergau Dam in Terengganu hydroelectricity project, was roped in for the Bakun project as he has vast knowledge on hydro technology.

“But I always maintain that to successfully complete a mega project like Bakun is not a one-man show but rather a team effort,” he stressed.

Bakun dam has eight massive turbines which could produce 2,400 megawatts once it is fully operational next year.

Zulkifle said the major parts of the trial runs include ‘wet test’ of the turbine.

On another issue, the water level in Rejang River has almost reached normal after the impoundment of the dam started on October 13 last year.

He assured that after the impoundment exercise is over, the water level should be back to normal.

The Rejang River provides the main form of transport for some 30,000 residents living above Kapit town, which has been badly affected by the impoundment exercise.

Meanwhile, Zilkifle stressed that there should be no doubt on the strength of the dam to withstand the strong force of water as it was built to last.

“The dam has been approved by qualified consultants appointed by the state government. The dam was built to last. What matters most is the depth of the dam that can withstand the pressure for long term,” he added.