Perak MB: Ulu Geruntum hydro electric dam to stay for now, despite stakeholder protest

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir gives a speech in Kampung Air Hitam in Teluk Intan, Perak May 21, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

BATU GAJAH, Feb 21 — The Ulu Geruntum hydroelectric dam in Gopeng is needed to fulfill the Kyoto Protocol and to ensure sustainable development, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir said today.

Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty among industrialised nations that sets mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

He said the project would reduce the dependence on polluting resources such as coal and the decision to choose the site was following a study.

Speaking to reporters after chairing the weekly state executive councillors meeting in here, Zambry said he had instructed executive councillors Datuk Rusnah Kassim and Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi to relook into the study.

“I told the exco’s responsible to look into the study whether the rivers flow involved eco-tourism in the area.”

On February 13, over 200 Orang Asli from six villages and three outdoor companies in Gopeng gathered to protest at the mini hydro dam that threatened their livelihood.

The Orang Asli had complained that jungle and ancestral graves have been destroyed and there were no consultation with stakeholders.

The outdoor companies’ representatives also claimed the project threatened the free flow of Sungai Geruntum, which flows into Sungai Kampar, Malaysia’s premier river for whitewater rafting.

Zambry declined to comment if the state has a stake in the project.

“The issue here is about the site... we have been doing it at many areas. The important thing is, it is subjected to regulations. The contractors can’t simply go in and clear.”

When asked if works would be suspended, he said “I do not know what is going on. Do not ask me about the technicalities. So far what I heard is from the media and report from excos.”