KOTA KINABALU: Build a dam in Papar if it's the best option to solve Sabah's water woes, says Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali.
"The state government needs to make a difficult but unpopular, bold and necessary decision to move forward and solve this problem once and for all," the Papar MP and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said.
He said the concerns of villagers that they would be affected by the construction of the proposed Kaiduan Dam would be addressed and taken into consideration.
However, he said outsiders who are unaffected by water supply issues do not have the standing to criticise the building of the dam, adding that the issue should not be used as polemic and continue to be politicised.
Armizan said this during a Hari Raya open house in Papar on Saturday (May 20).
He said the water issue is not new and had been dragging on for years.
Armizan said the construction of the proposed dam had also been put off due to interference from other parties.
He said that as Papar MP, he is all for the project and was glad that Parti Bersatu Sabah leaders had also voiced support for it.
He said water supply issues should not be left unresolved for too long because it would turn into a crisis in future and lead to more disruption to everyday lives, business operations and deter foreign investment.
"If the villagers are concerned about their safety and wellbeing, I am sure more engagement sessions will be held to inform them what this project would do for their socio-economic development," said Armizan.
He said the state government would also explain and give them assurance on their safety and provide fair compensation or relocation where applicable.
He said there would be economic spillover for villages involved as well as other Sabahans if the Papar Dam project goes ahead.
Armizan said that the proposed Papar Dam project was not a political decision but rather the outcome from research.
Sabah has been affected by regular water disruptions for years but the situation seems to have worsened recently.