|Borneo elephant; an endemic species threatened by the proposal|
Malaysian conservationists were alarmed at a recent proposal by the federal government to build dams on some rivers in the Indonesian island of Borneo. The reason for such a huge project was to guarantee water and electricity needs in the Kaiduan Valley, near Kota Belud in the state of Sabah, and on Tutoh River in the state of Sarawak. However, environmentalists, villagers, and other people disagree with the proposal. According to S.M Muthu, spokesman for the Malaysia Nature Society, Sabah and Sarawak boast with energy suppliers such as biomass fuel, gas, and solar which can be used for electricity. He further added that engineers had examined the infrastructure needs of East Malaysia, and concluded that dams are not required for electricity production. Nonetheless, the Malaysian government insisted the dams are needed as keys to power the nation's economy in order to become industrialized by 2020. In response, residents in the Kaiduan Valley built a blockade to halt work on one of the locations, and voiced their opposition to the one in Kota Belud. Also, activists in Sarawak warned that a hydropower dam on the Tutoh River risks changing the boundary of a national park.
This news article, in my opinion, is a clear representation of how a government project to industrialize a nation can be met with some stirring criticism. The main concern featured here is related to the environment and nature. Borneo is home to a rich variety of wildlife. Some of it is rarely seen. I feel that the construction of dams will put the lives of animals in jeopardy. Among them include the Borneo pygmy elephant and the orangutan. I sure hope that something could be done to stop this major government project.
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