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Kaiduan Dam protestors: We were punished
Published on: Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The communities in Ulu Papar suspect they had been punished by the previous State Government for resisting the proposed Kaiduan Dam project.Their spokesman Nousi Giun claimed that they had been denied some basic development as a result of their more than 10-year resistance.

He said firstly, the community water pipes in Kampung Terian which were installed in 1984 by the Berjaya government have never been replaced until today.

"We even helped the government by preparing and submitting a BQ (bill of quantity) list.

But they told us that we didn't have the capacity to do the BQ list. They said we were unqualified and unlicensed to do it even though we knew how," he said during a meeting with the Assistant Minister of Law and Native Affairs Jannie Lasimbang and Assistant Minister of Education and Innovation Jenifer Lasimbang, Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by community representatives from Ulu Papar and also from Sungai Eloi in Pitas who have been resisting a massive shrimp farm project in their area they claimed to have disrupted their traditional livelihood, among other concerns.

"We suspect that we were punished because of our resistance," said Nousi, who is also the leader of the Task Force Against Kaiduan Dam (Takad), formed by the community as their voice of resistance.

Another case that raised their suspicion was the rice farming subsidy they claim to have been frozen.

According to Nousi, there was no reason for it to be frozen as the proposed dam project was still at the stage of discussion.

"So, why did they have to freeze the subsidy when talks were still ongoing on the proposed project?" he asked.

He said the proposed dam project was also the reason given by the authorities as to why their native land titles could not be issued to them.

"The perimeter survey was done way back in 1985. And we were told that the titles were ready.

But they wouldn't give to us. They said it's because of the dam," said Nousi.

He protested that the reason was unacceptable as the land lots are outside of the proposed dam project boundary.

Fourthly, he said their plea for a new bridge in their area which had been brought up to the former District Officer was not heeded.

"In the end, the villagers had to do it themselves after passing the hat around," said Nousi.

On the personal level, he suspected that he was punished for his role in resisting the proposed dam project after his application for a low cost house in Kampung Kibabaig was rejected.

"I believe I was qualified but got rejected. Other people, including civil servants who earn more than RM4,000 a month were successful in their applications," he claimed.

Former Infrastructure Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan had said last year that the construction of the Kaiduan Dam project or Kota Kinabalu Water Supply project phase three needed to be implemented urgently due to the current inadequate water capacity.

He estimated the project would take five years to be ready and the current water supply capacity of 439.5 million litres daily was expected to be sufficient only up to 2022.

Around the same time, he reportedly said that the 240 affected families who were living within the proposed project area would be generously compensated by the State Government.

He had said the government proposed 0.3 acres of residential land for each household, resettlement allowance of RM10,000 per household, payment of "sogit" (customary fines) for burial grounds as well as options to compensate loss of land including crop and buildings.

More recently during the general election campaign, Pairin stressed that the Kaiduan Dam project had to happen for the sake of residents in Sabah.

But the new State Government recently said it would go for an alternative plan if the proposed project would not get implemented.

Newly-appointed Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony said the government was looking for plan B in view of the current water capacity that is "not that good" to meet consumer needs in the Greater Kota Kinabalu areas. - Leonard Alaza


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