Baram Dam

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Baram Dam
Baram Dam is located in Malaysia
Baram Dam
Site of the proposed Baram Dam on the island of Borneo.
Country Malaysia
Location Sarawak
Coordinates 3°22′59″N 114°34′4″E / 3.38306°N 114.56778°E / 3.38306; 114.56778Coordinates: 3°22′59″N 114°34′4″E / 3.38306°N 114.56778°E / 3.38306; 114.56778
Purpose Power
Status Proposed
Construction cost RM4 billion
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Gravity, roller-compacted concrete
Impounds Baram River
Height 162 m (531 ft)
Length 685 m (2,247 ft)
Elevation at crest 180 m (591 ft)[1]
Catchment area 8,966 km2 (3,462 sq mi)
Surface area 389 square kilometres (150 sq mi)
Normal elevation 178 m (584 ft)
Power Station
Turbines 4 x Francis-type
Installed capacity 1,200 MW

The Baram Dam, also known as Baram 1 Dam, (Baram Hydro-electric Dam Project) is a proposed gravity dam on the Baram River in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. The site of the dam is 250 kilometres (160 mi) inland from Miri, the second largest city in Sarawak. The dam is part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy and, if completed, would support a 1,200 MW power station. In November 2015, the Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem announced that the Sarawak government had decided to shelf the Baram Dam because the people in Baram did not welcome the plan.[2]


If built, the dam will be 162 metres (531 ft) tall and its reservoir will cover an area of 389 square kilometres (150 sq mi). The length of the dam at its crest will be 685 m (2,247 ft). A 70 metres (230 ft) tall saddle dam about 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of the main dam will help retain the reservoir.[3]


Baram 1 is one of 12 dams to be constructed in Sarawak and is being developed by Sarawak Energy. It is the next to be constructed after Murum Dam's reservoir impounded in 2013. Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation is carrying out the design of the dam and 1,200 MW power station.[4] In 2010, Fitchner completed a feasibility study on the dam and power station.[5][6] In November 2012, the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) for the project began.[7] On 11 July 2014, the Sarawak state government has unofficially approved the dam project although the SEIA report has not been completed.[8] As of 17 December 2014, Sarawak Energy announced that it has yet to complete a comprehensive feasibility study and SEIA report due to ongoing protests against the Baram dam project.[9]

Corruption has also been alleged, the Baram MP Jacob Dungau Sagan, currently the Malaysian Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, was accused of supporting the project after obtaining RM63 million worth of contracts and timber concessions for the Baram district. He dismissed it as a political ploy ahead of parliamentary elections.[10]



At least 20,000 people from 25 longhouses would be displaced if the dam is built, according to International Rivers.[11][12] The feasibility study estimated that 6,000 to 8,000 people from 32 longhouses would be displaced. This number has also been verified by Miri Resident's office. The displaced communities mostly consisted of Kenyah, Kayan, and Penan communities.[7] In the upcoming SEIA, a household register would be developed for proposed resettlement of the displaced communities. According to Sarawak Energy, the dam project would accelerate the development of Baram township and to provide work opportunities and better infrastructure development for the local communities.[7]

With the threat of displacement, protests by locals and international anti-dam groups against the dam have been common and have stalled preliminary construction such as access-road building. In September 2012, a document containing thousands of signatures was submitted to Sarawak's Chief Minister office.[13] However, also in 2012, the Federation of Orang Ulu Association Malaysia, a group representing local ethnic groups dwelling near the site, pledged their support to the project.[14]

A group of 300 indigenous people staged a demonstration during IHA 2013 World Congress held by International Hydropower Association (IHA) at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching in May 2013. Written demands were submitted to executive director of IHA, Richard M Taylor.[15][16] On 23 October 2013, native protesters disrupted 30 Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) workers who were doing geological studies at the proposed construction area.[17] Road blockades have impacted construction, one blockade has been erected near Long Lama and another one was erected near the proposed dam construction site.[18] The blockade continued for nearly one year until 21 October 2014 when 50 police personnel dismantled the "KM15" blockade at Long Kesseh. Another blockade was re-erected few hours later.[19][20] On 23 October 2014, the protesters celebrated one-year anniversary of the continuing blockade.[21][22]

In November 2015, the late Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said that the Sarawak government had decided that the Baram Dam project had been shelved, though this is described as "temporary".[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baram and Murum Fact sheet". DayakBaru. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Adenan: Sarawak's Baram Dan project temporarily shelved - Nation – The Star Online". 2015-11-18. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Tawie, Joseph (9 September 2011). "Baram Dam put on hold for now". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Baram 1 Hydroelectric Project". Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation. Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Publications and papers". Fitchner. Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Examples of regenerative energy projects - Feasibility study for a 1200 MW hydropower project, Malaysia". Fichtner. Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "Baram". Sarawak Energy. 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Baram dam gets go-ahead". The Star (Malaysia). 11 July 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Sarawak Energy Clarification On SEIA Report For Baram HEP". Sarawak Energy. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Then, Stephen (1 March 2012). "Baram MP denies allegations". The Star. Sarawak. 
  11. ^ Then, Stephen (19 April 2012). "Staring into an uncertain future". The Star. Retrieved 2 May 2012. [permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Baram Dam". International Rivers. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Natives hand over petition against Baram dam to Sarawak's Chief Minister". Bruno Manser Fonds. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Bakari, Saiful (18 March 2012). "Community support for Baram dam". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  15. ^ Cheng, Lian (23 May 2013). "Group protests building of more mega dams". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Protest in Kuala Lumpur against the Murum and Baram Dam". Bruno Manser Fonds. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Fresh blockades, warnings to SEB workers". Free Malaysia Today. 27 October 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Borneo natives extend anti-dam blockades ahead of key UN meeting on Malaysia". Bruno Manser Fonds. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  19. ^ Zachariah, Elizabeth (22 October 2014). "Baram dam protesters confront forestry officials, set up new blockade". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  20. ^ "[JOINT STATEMENT] – Attempt to Expel Indigenous Peoples from the Proposed Baram Dam Site Denounced By Human Rights Groups". SUARAM. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  21. ^ Then, Stephen (25 October 2014). "Sarawak's Baram Dam protestors survive one year of blockading". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  22. ^ "Baram Dam Blockade". Sarawak Report. Retrieved 4 January 2015.