Nov 28, 2012
KUCHING – Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said today systematic campaigns to discredit individuals and even a legitimate government were tantamount to economic sabotage which warranted a serious response from the state government.
Taib, who is also Sarawak finance minister cum resource planning and environment minister, said he did not condone such systematic campaigns which tried to prevent a small developing economy from growing even though in a democracy the people were free to assert their wishes.
“Increasingly, we notice that negative actions are being organised in Sarawak to gain global attention and a handful of local organisers seem to lead this opposition to get funding from foreigners,” he said when winding up debate in the state assembly meeting, at Petra Jaya, Kuching.
“They discredit the government in a web of lies and half-truths wrapped around ignorance and twisted logic,” he said, adding that it was the position of the Barisan Nasional that the economic strategy was sustainable growth as opposed to economic stagnation.
As such, he said, it would be short-sighted to oppose the construction of dams in Sarawak and to listen to outsiders whose real intention towards the state’s continued development was suspect at best.
Taib said that having developed the state’s economy with oil and gas, timber and palm oil, the current development strategy was to develop Sarawak’s resources and promote energy-intensive industries in order to build a niche as part of the global supply chain.
It was also a rare opportunity for the government to create good-paying jobs in Sarawak and to stimulate the business and investment environment, he said.
On dam construction to generate hydro power, he said, the state government would carry out its plan to develop hydro-electric power projects to make the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) a success as such an energy development roadmap was important to provide Sarawak with a certainty in its future economic direction.
He said hydro dams had the advantage as a cheaper source of energy besides serving multiple purposes, including flood control, water irrigation, water supply and ship navigation, as well as the development of tourism.
Even International Rivers, an international non-governmental organisation that had spread its tentacles, acknowledged that opposition to a dam did not mean that it should not be built, he said.
Pointing out that the government was serious in ensuring that the hydro dam projects were done properly, he said it established the Sarawak socio-environmental impact assessment (SEIA) process, which was an adaptation of the key elements of international guidelines to Sarawak’s conditions, including the right of the indigenous people to land and land-based activities. – Bernama