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101 East
Fight the power
Despite protests, Malaysia is going ahead with building 12 hydro-electric dams.
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2009 12:26 GMT



Watch part two


The Malaysian state of Sarawak plans to build 12 new hydro-electric dams along the state's waterways, saying the projects will create jobs, provide cheap renewable energy and meet the demands of future industrialisation. 

The dams are supposed to push the total generating capacity in the state to 7,000MW by 2020, an increase of more than 600 per cent from the current capacity.

There are plans to expand the aluminium-smelting industry in the state which will need the planned output.

But critics question the sustainability of the project. 

They are concerned that the dams will destroy the environment and heritage sites, displace tens of thousands of local indigenous people and are unnecessary for a region that already has more electricity than it needs.

Opponents also say that the projects are magnets for corruption, enriching the private coffers of those in power. 

This week on 101 East we talk to those in favour and against Sarawak's proposed new dams.

This episode of 101 East aired from Thursday, March 19, 2009.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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