Papar Dam project will go ahead, says Shafie

KOTA KINABALU: The controversial RM3bil Papar Dam project will go ahead, according to caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

The Parti Warisan Sabah president, in revealing this, said that funding for the proposed project will come from the state government.

A dam had been proposed in Penampang several years ago, but residents there had protested, leading to a new site being proposed, in the Mondoringin area, to be called the Papar Dam.

However, villagers and environmental groups are still against the mega project, as it will not only affect the natural surroundings but also the population there.

“This is among efforts to improve the development in this constituency, and I believe if everything goes to plan, not only will we be able to establish an education hub in Papar, but also the Papar Dam.

“This dam costs around RM3bil and it does not come from the federal government (allocation), but will be borne by the state government.

“Since the Penampang (residents) objected, so we won’t build the dam there, but the water supply still needs to be taken care of, and it is a facility that will be shared.

“I do not want us to face a water shortage in future. Water is still an issue in Papar, and with developments in Kota Kinabalu, the supply would not be enough so we must be wise in foreseeing the future.

“There is no point of ‘Merdeka’ if we have no development or progress, ” he said when launching a ceremony to hand over land titles handing in the Papar district on Tuesday (Sept 1).

His announcement was slammed by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president Edward Dagul, who hails from Papar.

Dagul said Shafie should be transparent on why he was so adamant to see this project through. He also asked where the caretaker state government plans to find the money to foot the cost.

“Has the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report been done? If so, what are the results? Have all the various alternatives been looked into?

“There are alternatives such as off-river reservoirs, which are cheaper and quicker to build and still able to cater and produce the necessary water supply needed for Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding areas, ” stressed Dagul.

Meanwhile, Shafie, at another event in Papar meeting community leaders and Papar Warisan division machinery, reminded Warisan supporters to continue backing the party even if their names or the individuals they supported were not chosen to run in the coming state polls.

“I do have concerns with nomination day getting nearer and I have lots of potential candidates to go through; I hoped those who have been shouting ‘Hidup Warisan’, if their names are not in the list, would not suddenly abandon the party.

"This is a long journey. It is more important for us (Warisan) to become the government, rather than (our personal interest) to become a candidate but end up being the opposition, ” he reminded supporters.

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