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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        17  March 2011

Malaysian hydroelectric dam starts soon

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The Bakun hydroelectric dam is expected to commercially produce 300 megawatts of electricity in July this year, said Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd managing director Zulkifle Osman.

He said impoundment started on October 13 last year and the reservoir's water level was now at 184.6 meters.

Zulkifle said flooding was needed to reach the minimum operation level of 195m to conduct the reliability run, which would take at least a month.

"We have been getting good rainfall from upstream for the past weeks. Based on our calculation, if the rainfall continues, the reservoir's water level may reach 195 meters by end-April or early May," he said yesterday.

The area to be flooded covers 690 square kilometers, equal to the size of Singapore. Sarawak Hidro, a wholly-owned unit of Malaysia's Ministry of Finance Inc, is the developer of the dam, which can generate 2,400 MW of electricity.

It is the world's second tallest concrete rock-filled dam and is located on Balui River in the upper Rejang River basin, 37 kilometers upstream from Belaga.

Power generated from Bakun will be supplied to energy-intensive industries such as aluminum and manganese smelting plants to be set up in the Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu Division within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy. The Bakun dam cost over RM7bil to build.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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