27 June 2011
Residents of Rumah Bansan accused coal fire power plant as the caused of severe land erosion that damaged their crops and properties
MUKAH – The Iban residents of the 13 door Rumah Bansan in Sungai Bedengan, Mukah are complaining that ever since the Mukah Coal Fire Power Plant became operational in 2008, severe land erosion caused by rushing sea water entering into the rivers during high tides, have damaged much of their crops and properties.
The residents link the land erosion to the construction of a cooling pond, meant to supply adequate water to cool the coal powered generators of the plant.
The construction of the pond have caused the water level at Sungai Bedengan to go down and during high tide, fast flowing sea water rushed into the river and began to erode the banks resulting in the banks collapsing thus damaging the residents’ crops and properties.
It was even reported that a farm house belonging to the headman, Tuai Rumah Bansan Anak Awien collapsed in November 2010. A police report was lodged by the headman and estimated loss is about RM300,000.
The residents first noticed the erosion sometime in 2009. Initially, they thought it was just a storm, but the erosion became more frequent with each coming of the tide.
They noticed that the water level in the river is very low and this has never happen before prior to the construction of the cooling pond.
As the erosions are getting worst, the residents wrote a complaint to Mukah Power Generation Sdn. Bhd. (MPG), the company managing the plant.
MPG then engaged Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID) to investigate the complaint. However, the results of DID investigations showed that the MPG’s cooling pond was not responsible for the erosion and concluded that the cause of the erosion is of natural causes.
Tuai Rumah Bansan is not happy with the investigations as he claimed that he has been farming at the area for more than 13 years and nothing like this has ever happen before.
He is also upset that MPG have yet to take action to mitigate the effects of the erosion.
The Mukah Coal Fire Power plant was completed in September 2008 and is located at the coastline at the intersection Sibu – Mukah and Balingian – Mukah road.
The plant can generate a total of 135 MW of electricity which in turn will be used to power the coastal grid stretching from Balingian to Sarikei and to the state-wide power grid, linking major towns in Sarawak.
The plant uses coal mined from deposits found in the surrounding Mukah – Balingian districts, which are now starting to create land disputes with the local inhabitants as the state government issues mining licences which overlaps over native customary lands of the natives.
The plant was built by Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS), a conglomerate controlled by the current Chief Minister’s family, and currently managed by MPG, a subsidiary of Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) in which the Chief Minister also has interests.
For information, please contact
Tuai Rumah Bansan, h/p: 0148903984
Jambai Anak Bansan, 0808719322
Press statement release by:
Executive Programme Director,
Coal plant accused of causing soil erosion in Mukah
June 27, 2011 by democracy4now
27 June 2011