Environmental economics - The Bakun Dam Project in Sarawak

Essay by baby*cakesHigh School, 12th gradeA-, June 2004

download word file, 10 pages 5.0

For more than 30 years, there have been discussions concerning the development of the Bakun Dam in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. If built, the dam would be the largest in South-East Asia. The Bakun Dam: A Case Study indicates that generating 2400 megawatts of power, it would provide electricity for all of Sarawak, and for industries and cities in mainland Malaysia, through a cable under the South China Sea. At 650 kilometres, this would be by far the longest cable in the world.

The Bakun Dam has been a highly controversial issue spanning over three decades as its validity and use to the people of Malaysia have been questioned. For the cost that involves producing this dam, at seven billion dollars and rising, is there a need for so much power at all? The main environmental issue here is whether Sarawak should sacrifice forests in order to promote the economic growth of its country or cease construction to preserve the traditional environment and standards of living.

It is essential to the people of Malaysia that the construction of the dam continues, as it will benefit them in the future through industrialisation. This dam can be seen as a source of employment for the nation, the creation of international interest, and increased economic growth. There are also many negatives to the completion of the dam; which include the displacement of natives, increased foreign debt, and the gradual deterioration of the dam after many years. There are many other factors that contribute to this issue, however, the above three positive components are fundamental to the further growth of Malaysia.

The main stakeholders involved in this area of interest include Malaysian non-governmental organisations opposed to the project, indigenous peoples affected, non-governmental organisations outside Malaysia opposed the project, Malaysian State and...