Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 8th July 2011:
Kit Siang accepts challenge by Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman to a public debate in Kota Belud on the proposed Tambatuon Dam and proposes it be held in September
The Sabah Daily Express on Wednesday 6th July 2011 carried a report of the Barisan Nasional Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan challenging me to an open debate regarding the proposed Tambatuon Dam.
The Daily Express report reads:
“Let’s debate: Rahman
“Kota Kinabalu: Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan on Tuesday challenged DAP Advisor Lim Kit Siang to an open debate regarding the proposed Tambatuon Dam.
“Expressing disappointment with the Ipoh Timur MP, he said the latter has been continuously instigating the people of Kg Tambatuon with misleading facts about the issue.
“'His intention is very clear which is to score political gains at the expense of national interest (food security), long term benefit to the thousands of poor farmers and solution to the drinking water supply and flood mitigation of the people of Kota Belud,' he said in a statement.
“He said the Government has explained many times about the issue that he personally has met the Tambatuon Action Committee to discuss about it.
“'So, if Kit Siang likes to debate the issue openly, I am more than happy to oblige. Let’s have the debate in the Kota Belud community hall where all the stakeholders and parties affected by the proposed dam can come and listen to both sides,' he said.
“Rahman said the people of Kg Tambatuon, the Kota Belud paddy farmers and the relevant agencies would be invited so that they could hear real facts and figures and not one-sided political rhetorics from desperate politicians.
“He hoped Lim would take up the challenge with an open heart so the Government can move on developing Kota Belud.
“Lim recently blamed the government including the elected representatives of Kota Belud for failing to care for the interest of the residents in Tambatuon.
“He said the people should not bear the burden of development to the extent of losing their ancestral land they inherited from their forefathers.
“Rahman, on the other hand, explained previously that the Tambatuon Damn is only at the proposal stage and that nothing has materialised yet.
“He said the Government would not carry out anything without first taking the people interest and concern in its planning. He stressed that the people always come first before any project is implemented.”
Rahman had made baseless claims and allegations in this report, trying to camouflage the fact that as MP for the area, he had failed to visit Kampung Tambatuon or to have a dialogue to hear the views of the people of the kampung which is to be drowned and destroyed in the RM450 million Tambatuon Dam project.
It was only after he was embarrassed at the public expose that he had never even visited Kampung Tambatuon let alone having a dialogue in the kampung with the people whose livelihood and village would be drowned and destroyed although the Tambatuon Dam project had been mooted for two years as far back as 2009 that Rahman made a “lightning visit” on June 11 this year, not so much as an elected representative for the area, but more as a “tourist” under great police protection as well as support of a large delegation including the Sabah Deputy Chief Minister!
I do not propose to go into further details as they are best ventilated in the public debate as challenged by Rahman.
I accept Rahman's suggestion that the public debate be held in Kota Belud and propose that the debate be held in September.
I am appointing the DAP MP for Kota Kinabalu Hiew King Cheu and DAP Sabah State Secretary Edwin Bosi to represent me to finalise all details of the public debate with Rahman or his representatives – such as the number of speakers on each side, venue, time, the chairman of the debate and all other relevant details.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor