Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed said that if a new contractor was not appointed soon on the troubled Bakun project, the country would be heading for a disastrous shortfall in electricity. Speaking to reporters after launching a new university in Kuala Lumpur, the Prime Minister said that electricity consumption in Malaysia had shot up by 900MW in one month; ‘a very frightening level’, he added.

There were rumours that the results for tenders involving the construction of the main dam and supply installation of electromechanical equipment would be announced in August 2002. The 2,400MW Bakun project was seized from developer Bakun Hydroelectric Corp by the Minister of Finance in August 1997, following the Asian economic crisis. It was revived in March 2001 and is now managed by a subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance, Sarawak Hydro.