Chief Minister Taib Committed to Sustainable Development in Goal to Achieve ‘Developed’ Status by 2020

February 14, 2011

KUCHING, Sarawak, Malaysia, February 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Sarawak is
ahead of other Malaysian states in conducting Social and Environmental Impact
Assessments (SEIA) before any development projects begin. Whilst pursuing
growth, the Government of Sarawak is promoting sustainable development to
ensure that the environment and the state’s natural resources are not
adversely affected.

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said: “I regard environmental protection
and sustainable forestry as an integral part of our State’s growth and our
goal to achieve ‘developed’ country status by 2020. It is of the utmost
importance that we balance development and environmental conservation. This
is a key priority for the Government of Sarawak.”

Most recently, the Government conducted a Social and Environmental Impact
Assessment on the Murum dam project. This 940MW dam is the third hydro-power
dam to be built in Sarawak and the first turbine is planned for operation in
August 2012. Hydro-power is the cleanest, safest and cheapest form of energy
in the long run and due to today’s technologies, hydropower has a lower
environmental impact than traditional fuels such as diesel.

The SEIA Study for the Murum dam project complies with international
standards, especially those of the Equator Principles and the United Nation’s
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The study examines the
social and environmental impact of the dam and the resettlement of the
affected communities, including cultural heritage and ethnography. The key to
effective resettlement is free, prior and informed consultation with regard
to resettlement sites and livelihood options to ensure that the resettlement
will result in an improvement in the lives of the people while retaining
their cultural heritage. The study will be completed in early 2011 and a
summary of the study will be made available to the general public for

Sarawak is experiencing major construction and infrastructure projects as
a result of the Government’s goals to modernise. It aims to increase GDP by
500% and provide over one million new jobs by 2030, thereby improving the
standard of living for the people of Sarawak. To do this, it is investing
heavily in major industry, agriculture and energy projects.

The Government embarked on the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy
(SCORE) initiative in 2008, to develop industry across five key areas,
Tanjung Manis, Samalaju, Mukah, Baram and Tunoh. As part of the initiative
two hydro power dams at Bakun and Murum, two coal power stations at Mukah and
Balingian, an industrial park at Samalaju, a Halal food processing hub at
Tanjung Manis, and a Science Park at Mukah are planned. Connecting roads will
also be built which will stretch in to rural areas such as Baram and Tunoh.

The SCORE initiative affects a large area (320 km) and although
significant the development is gradual and will take a total of 22 years to
complete. The Government of Sarawak is being very careful to ensure that this
growth is sustainable and that it creates a stronger economy, more jobs,
better education and health facilities whilst tightly monitoring the
environmental impact to ensure it is kept to a minimum.

SOURCE Asia Newswire

Source: newswire

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