Bakun dam sale not a bailout

KUALA LUMPUR: The sale of the 2,400MW Bakun Dam is not a bailout but a mutually beneficial commercial deal between the Federal Government and the Sarawak state government, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin, who declined to confirm speculation that the Federal Government was asking for RM8bil, said the final price would be one that was agreed upon by both sides.

The Sarawak government had offered RM6bil for the hydroelectric dam but said it was willing to raise it to RM7bil if the Federal Government agreed to its conditions, including a flexible payment method.

The final cost of the dam, which was completed this month, is expected to balloon past RM7.3bil due to cost overruns, compensation for delays and interest.

Wholly-owned by the Ministry of Finance Inc, construction on the dam began in 1996 amidst protests by environmentalists.

To a question that Sarawak’s RM6bil offer was lower than what the Federal Government was seeking, Muhyiddin said it was normal for one to ask for a low price when wanting to purchase an item.

“But I believe that when the time comes to decide on a price, it will be a reasonable one which is accepted by both sides,” he said.

The Government, he said, had agreed in principle to sell the Bakun dam to the Sarawak state government.

On Saturday, Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Muhamad Hanadzlah said the decision to sell Bakun was not profit-oriented but to enable Sarawak to meet its energy requirements, especially within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.

The flooding of the dam reservoir is expected to take place next month.

On purported plans to sell highway concessionaire PLUS Express­ways Bhd, Muhyiddin said nothing had been finalised and that the government would make an announcement in due time.

On plans by Johns Hopkins University to set up a medical school and hospital here, Muhyiddin said it was a good sign for Malaysia.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made the announcement in New York on Saturday that the world-renowned university and hospital would be setting up base in Serdang.

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