KOTA KINABALU: The controversial Papar dam may be going back to Penampang district, confirms Sabah Works Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.
The Deputy Chief Minister said this to reporters at an appreciation ceremony for Sabah Public Works Department here on Tuesday (Jan 5).
"We might move the project to Penampang.
"I was informed if we do it in Papar, the water supply sustainability is only for 60 years, while in Penampang, the supply will last 85 years.
"So, we have 25 extra years before we need to seek another source," he said when asked about the government's decision on the dam, meant to secure clean water supply for Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding districts.
The water dam project was initially proposed in Penampang, but was rejected by environmentalists and surrounding villages that feared of flooding risks, but when the previous Warisan-Plus government took over, they moved the proposed location to neighbouring Papar, renaming it Papar dam.
Despite the change of location, the project continued to be rejected by environmentalists and villagers due to environmental reasons.
"Water has become a problem in Sabah, and we must be brave (in taking the next move)," Bung Moktar said, assuring that an Environment Assessment Impact (EIA) will be done should they find a new location in Penampang.
Bung Moktar said they may consider utilising part of the project for hydro power.
Meanwhile on another development, Bung Moktar said he was informed by Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor that the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) project will be carried out, but on a smaller scale than planned previously without involving reclamation.
"We have Tanjung Aru beach, but will not use all of the space as some is left for public recreation.
"So, the cost is expected to be reduced," he said when asked about the status of the project since Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) took over the state administration.
When asked when the project is expected to resume, Bung Moktar said the project's Board of Directors have been appointed by Hajiji, expressing confidence it will resume soon this year.