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Govt never promised free water, power

LUBOK ANTU, 31 March 2009: The government has never promised that it will give free electricity and treated water supplies to those relocated by the Batang Ai or the Bakun Hydro dam projects in the state.

The settlers will still have to pay for their monthly bills, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Fadillah Yusof told Bernama here today.

He was asked to comment on the perception by some settlers here that the government had failed to honour its promise of free water and power supplies to them when they were relocated to make way for the dam 25 years ago.

The promise is raised as an issue in the Batang Ai by-election on 7 April which sees a straight fight between Barisan Nasional’s Malcolm Mussen Lamoh and Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s  Jawah Gerang.    

Fadillah is here to assist in the campaigning among the Malay Malaysian community.

Some 3,000 people from about 26 longhouses were relocated before 1982 when the dam was constructed and which was completed three years later.

Fadillah said not only the settlers but rural folks in other areas too would have to pay for the installation of their meters while the government would foot the bigger costs of laying the basic infrastructure for such utilities.

Fadillah said there could be a misunderstanding or miscommunication which had led those concerned to believe they were entitled to free water and power supplies just because they had co-operated and had sacrificed for the sake of development.

“The situation is the same throughout the country,” he said. — Bernama

 

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