Orang Asli affected by Nenggiri dam project
KUALA LUMPUR – The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry (KeTSA) admits that the hydroelectric dam construction in Nenggiri at Gua Musang, Kelantan, would affect flora and fauna as well as the three Orang Asli villages around it.
Its minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said the three villages were Kuala Wias, Pos Pulat and Pos Tohoi with 1,115 residents.
In this regard, he said the effects or impact should be addressed through multiple control measures with the cooperation of relevant government departments and agencies.
He said the development of the Nenggiri Hydroelectric Power Plant Project with a 300 Megawatt (MW) capacity would proceed and be funded by TNB Power Generation Sdn Bhd (TPGSB).
"At the time, the construction works in the hydroelectric power station had begun since March 1, 2022 and the project was estimated to be done and operational on June 1, 2027.
"With the total area of the main reservoir lake being 53.84 square kilometres, the project would help the Kelantan government in reducing the impact of major floods that often affects the state while overcoming the issue of clean water supply and irrigation, as well as opening up job opportunities for the locals during its construction and other potential economic activities when completed.
"In addition, TPGSB has started the preliminary work on the construction of the project by obtaining the necessary approvals, including the Mineral Potential Study, Public and Social Acceptance Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA)," he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He said this when responding to a question from Datuk Ramli Mohd Nor (BN-Cameron) who asked him to state whether KeTSA would proceed with the construction of the hydroelectric dam and whether the construction would affect the lives of the Orang Asli community in the surrounding area.
Takiyuddin said that to maximise the project's benefits and protect the interests of the Orang Asli and communities in the area since 2014, TNB had implemented various social responsibilities and programmes with the community around the proposed project site.
He said over 30 engagement sessions with the communities were conducted including the one organised by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) that was participated by Orang Asli community leaders in the dam project site, namely from Pos Tohoi, Pos Pulat, Kg Kuala Wias and the Kelantan Orang Asli Village Network (JKOAK) group.
"Based on the results of the Public Acceptance Survey by the appointed consultant of UKM Pakarunding Sdn Bhd in 2018, the project acceptance level by the residents of all three villages increased to 80 per cent compared to 69.5 per cent in 2015.
"This mirrors the community involved understood clearly the development that will happen in their area and the benefits it can gain," he said.