Sarawak Speaker rejects Opposition motion on Bengoh dam seepage

The Bengoh dam when it was  under construction. —  Picture courtesy of
The Bengoh dam when it was under construction. — Picture courtesy of

KUCHING, Nov 15 — The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker rejected today an Opposition assemblyman’s emergency motion for the state government to appoint an independent consultant to look into alleged seepage in the Bengoh dam.

Sarawak Speaker Datuk Amar Asfia Awang Nasar said although the motion tabled by PKR’s Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How on the RM310 million dam was definite and of public importance, it was, however, not urgent.

“The Minister of Utilities (Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundie Utom) is in the know as he and his staff spent hours attending the briefing by the contractor and consultant, and therefore, there is no urgency,” he said in rejecting the motion.

He said See has taken an alarmist view that the contractor and consultant was misleading, contradictory and self-serving.

However, he said the consultant, who was flown in from the United Kingdom, is of the view that the safety of the dam was not affected by the seepage.

In tabling the motion, See also wanted the state government to audit the safety of the dam.

He said the minister had only consulted and was briefed by the contractor and consultant whose reports and information were misleading, contradictory, self-serving at best and not contemporaneous.

Yesterday at a press conference, Rundie had assured that the Bengoh dam was technically and structurally sound and stable, in response to widely circulated photographs on social media of the seepage of the dam.

He had said patching work was going on by the contractor two months ago after the seepage was detected.

The dam, which is 63m tall and 267m long, is designed to secure increasing raw water needs for the greater Kuching and Samarahan up to 2030.

The dam, completed in 2010, was built for the Kuching Water Board. The dam’s reservoir could store some 144 million cubic metres of water.

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