Abang Johari joins a karaoke session during the event. – Ukas photo

KUCHING (Oct 28): The community in Baram has requested the state government construct a cascading dam on the Tutoh River, said the Premier.

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said he fully supports the proposal.

“In the past, many opposed dam construction, but this time, I was surprised by the request to build a cascading dam on the Tutoh River.

“The reason is to maintain the relationship between humans and crocodiles, but this initiative will also generate income for Sarawak. This is innovation and a new idea,” Abang Johari said during the Sarawak Civil Service Innovation Convention Awards (SCSICA) here last night.

The rationale behind the project stems from the changing transportation landscape in the region, as road connectivity has shifted away from relying on rivers, he said.

This change has led to an increased presence of crocodiles and conflicts between humans and these reptiles.

In this regard, he said the proposed cascading dam is seen to be a way to prevent excessive crocodile breeding, as well as to offer several other advantages.

“When you enrich the river with oxygen, you enrich the fish. Just imagine, if you can catch more fish, it will provide additional income to our people.

“In addition, the turbulent waters will discourage crocodile presence. So you get two products: fish and fewer crocodiles,” he said.

Abang Johari said one of the most promising aspects of the cascading dam project is its potential to generate hydroelectric power, providing a sustainable energy source for Sarawak.

“When the water flows in this manner, you can use pipelines placed along waterfalls with turbines to produce electricity without harming the environment.

“We have the potential for 20,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power just from our numerous rivers. And that’s only hydro. If we consider gas from turbines, we could reach an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 megawatts.

“This would give us around 35,000 megawatts of surplus power, which can be sold to other regions, creating additional revenue for Sarawak. This revenue could be reinvested into increased salaries and allowances for our people,” he added.