SARAWAK TO AC­QUIRE BAKUN DAM FOR RM2.5 BIL­LION

Firm and govt fi­nal­is­ing de­tails, share sale pact ex­pected in 2 months

New Straits Times - - Front Page - GOH PEI PEI KUCHING bt@me­di­aprima.com.my

STATE-owned Sarawak En­ergy Bhd (SEB) is tak­ing over the Bakun hy­dro­elec­tric dam from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for RM2.5 bil­lion.

Sarawak Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Abang Jo­hari Abang Openg said SEB would buy the en­tire in­ter­est in Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, owner and op­er­a­tor of the Bakun dam.

An agree­ment had been reached in prin­ci­ple that the own­er­ship and oper­a­tion of the Bakun dam would be fully re­turned to Sarawak through the ac­qui­si­tion of shares in Sarawak Hidro, said Abang Jo­hari.

SEB and the Fi­nance Min­istry of­fi­cials, he said, were fi­nal­is­ing de­tails and ex­pected to sign the share sale agree­ment in two months.

“The move would en­able us to have full own­er­ship of all elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Sarawak with greater flex­i­bil­ity in op­ti­mis­ing the man­age­ment and oper­a­tion of elec­tric­ity sup­ply,” he said.

SEB would also set­tle all Sarawak Hidro out­stand­ing loans, said Abang Jo­hari, here, yes­ter­day.

The po­ten­tial takeover will in­clude the hy­dro­elec­tric plant, as well as the land sur­round­ing the dam and reser­voir area from Fed­eral Land Com­mis­sion.

“This is one of the strate­gic de­ci­sions to trans­form Sarawak into dig­i­tal econ­omy as we need power to in­stall fi­bre-op­tic in­stal­la­tions and other works,” said Abang Jo­hari.

“Apart from that, we might be able to fur­ther re­duce our elec­tric tar­iff or sell power to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries,” he added.

The 2,400-megawatt (MW) Bakun dam, Malaysia’s largest, was com­pleted in 2010 and partly com­mis­sioned in the fol­low­ing year be­fore be­ing fully com­mis­sioned in July 2014.

Apart from Bakun, Sarawak has the 944MW Mu­rum Dam and the 100MW Batang Ai Dam.

The 1,200MW Baleh dam is ex­pected to com­mence this year.

“We will only look into build­ing more dams when there’s a need. Oth­er­wise, four are enough for now,” said Abang Jo­hari.

SEB closed 6.32 per cent or three sen higher at 50.5 sen with 301,400 shares traded yes­ter­day.

Sarawak En­ergy Bhd’s takeover of the Bakun hy­dro­elec­tric dam will in­clude the land sur­round­ing the dam and reser­voir area.

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