A top minister in the Malaysian state of Sarawak has told activists campaigning for cleaner energy to ‘stop breathing’, reports The Borneo Post.

“I would like to throw a challenge at them critics on two fronts,” Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing told the newspaper.

“Firstly, please provide us with the best source of alternative power besides fossil fuel, and secondly, they have to stop breathing if they criticize just for the sake of criticizing.

“Masing was responding to the South-East Asia Renewable Energy People’s Assembly Searepa, a five-day conference that took place in neighboring Sabah. The conference concluded with a set of proposals to shift toward less damaging sources of energy. One of the recommendations was a halt to a series of large dams planned in Sarawak. Critics say the dams will displace thousands of people, flood vast areas of rainforest, and serve primarily as a vehicle for state corruption. The dams, which will cost tens of billions of dollars, will produce substantially more energy than Sarawak consumes.

“We understand that the 12 dams if developed fully will generate 20,000 megawatts in Sarawak. Based on media reports quoting leaders, Sarawak will have a surplus of electricity for many years now that there is power generated from the Bakun dam,” said SEAREPA Programme Coordinator Gabriel S. Wynn in a statement. “We also urge Tan Sri Masing to address the key concerns of the group as communicated through two declarations that had raised the impact of development projects on the people and ecosystems of Sarawak.”

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