Anti Papar Dam Campaign Lost Momentum After Supporters Joined State Gov T




One of the reasons the momentum of the campaign against the Papar Dam in Sabah appears to have slowed down is because some former supporters of the campaign have quietened down after they became part of the new state government
“One of the reasons is… the last time when we were fighting (against the dam), we had many supporters
“But now, when there is a new government, a lot of our friends have become part of the government… there are some who helped us (previously) and are now ministers. They have done a U-turn and fallen silent,” said Taskforce Against Kaiduan/Papar Dam (Takad) chairperson Diana Sipail
She was speaking to a crowd of about 70 people at a forum on the Papar Dam at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) last night

Diana said this in response to a question from an audience member about the solidarity of the community at Ulu Papar, where the Papar Dam project will be built
Last October, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said the state government had decided to go ahead with building the Papar Dam despite protests from the local indigenous community
Shafie said the dam was needed to supply water for Sabah’s rising population and its tourism industry
Meanwhile, the indigenous community living in Ulu Papar have cried foul against the state government for reneging on its election promise by rebranding the project instead of cancelling it after winning the 14th general election
After delivering a memorandum opposing the Papar Dam project to the Prime Minister’s Office and several other ministries yesterday morning, Diana (photo) told Malaysiakini that the Papar Dam project is the same as the Kaiduan Dam project announced by the previous state government in 2008
She said the locations and sizes of both dams are about the same, despite the name change
Takad, which had been campaigning against the dam projects for the past 10 years, had campaigned for Pakatan Harapan and Warisan during the 14th general election because the group had been won over by their promise to cancel Kaiduan Dam project, Diana said
“So, after they won and took office in May last year; come August, the Sabah Infrastructure Development Ministry announced the project would continue as Papar Dam
“It’s the same location, putting the same people underwater, displacing the same people, the same river, and there is no change at all,” she said
The Papar Dam project, worth about RM2 billion, would be between 150 to 200 metres high and will inundate 522 hectares of land
Takad is protesting against the dam, saying it would inundate the customary land and villages of the Sabah natives, as well as destroy existing forests
In addition, Takad said, said, more than 3,000 native people in the Penampang and Papar districts would have to be resettled in areas unfamiliar to them, which would change their lifestyles. - Mkini

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