Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: The federal government’s implementation of the Bakun Hydroelectric Dam project was poorly planned in the sense that the need of people of Belaga for a road leading to Bakun was ignored.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing said the people in Belaga town were not happy as they had sacrificed their land and livelihood for the construction of the dam.

“When the dam was built, Belaga town was completely ignored. There was no road connecting Bakun to Belaga town which is 40km downstream.

“They must connect Belaga to Bakun as the latter was connected to Bintulu. If Belaga is connected to Bakun, then automatically, they are also connected to Bintulu,” he said during a videotaped interview with DayakDaily on Sunday (Sept 13).

Masing said due to that, the federal government was urged to build the road following requests from the local elected representatives.

“They (Jiwa Murni) built it for us so at least we have access to Belaga. As the Jiwa Murni road was not meant for high volume traffic it got damaged and so on,” he said.

Masing said had Jiwa Murni not build the road, it would have cost significantly more for the state government to build it from scratch.

“Because the road was already built, we can upgrade it for only RM118 million. So, the project had nothing to do with the Public Works Department (JKR) and the state government,” he said.