Plan for 12 dams threatens Borneo

Michael Sheridan; 16/3/09

The island of Borneo, a fragile treasure house of rainforests, rare animals and plants, is under threat from plans for Chinese engineers to build 12 dams that will cut through virgin land and displace thousands of native Dayak people. The Government of the Malaysian state of Sarawak says the dams are the first stage of a “corridor of renewable energy” that will create 1.5 million jobs through industries powered by safe, clean hydro-electricity. Campaigners are furious but appear powerless in the face of a project they fear will compound the devastation wreaked on Borneo’s peoples and land by previous dam projects and the felling of its forests. They point to the ruin caused by the levelling of millions of hectares of trees for oil palm plantations to meet the world’s demand for biofuels.