Abang Johari signs the plaque to mark PBB Special Convention for Sibu Zone as others look on. — Photo by Conny Banji

SIBU (Nov 5): Building cascading reservoir dams to create artificial waterfalls in Sarawak’s rivers could be the answer to resolve crocodile infestation, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said with more rural settlements in the state now linked by roads, people are now driving more and not using boats to reach their destination.

“Still rivers with very little riverine traffic make good crocodile breeding habitats. With more and more crocodiles in our rivers now, we are encountering increasing human-crocodile conflicts.

“Building these cascading dams with waterfalls at some stretches will make the rivers less ideal for crocodiles to breed. At the same time, we can allow our fish like ‘semah’, ‘tengadak’ and ‘empurau’ to breed — people can generate income when we have a lot of fish,” he said when officiating at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Special Convention for Sibu Zone here today.

Abang Johari, who is PBB president, said there has been requests for such dams to be built in Nanga Gaat, Kapit and Sungai Tutoh in Baram.

He added that they could also build turbines below the waterfalls to produce electricity.

“We have fish and electricity. When we have enough electricity, we can amend the power supply bill so that the locals can get involved in the development of such projects. Just wait for the coming State Legislative Assembly sitting on the matter

“When this happens, more investors will come to Sarawak and our people can boost their income. This is our idea from PBB — always thinking of the people’s wellbeing and prosperity in line with our new economy under the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030,” he said.

Abang Johari said as part of green energy, the use of technology for building such dams does not harm the environment and additionally, is a source of renewable energy.

Meanwhile, he said there is a master plan to develop Kapit. With its hilly terrains, Abang Johari said Kapit has the potential to be developed like Bergen in Norway.

“I will talk to Kapit leaders over the plan,” he said, adding he will engage a consultant for the same purpose.

He later expressed confidence that Sarawak will be able to surpass Johor in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) in three years’ time.

Sarawak is currently placed fourth, with its GDP at RM140 billion in 2022 behind Selangor (RM421 billion), Kuala Lumpur (RM262 billion) and Johor (RM142 billion).

Over 2,000 delegates from 23 PBB divisions from Sibu, Sarikei, Kapit and Mukah attended the one-day convention.

Present at the event were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, PBB deputy president Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, PBB senior vice president Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Deputy Minister in the Premier of Sarawak’s Department (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) Datuk Gerawat Gala and Deputy Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee.