Top posts

Featured Posts

Is there gold in Kpg Tambatuon?

The secretive way in which the Sabah government is
handling the controversial Kampung Tambatoun dam
has given rise to suspicion that the authorities
may have discovered something 'more precious
and lucrative.'
KOTA BELUD: There may be more to Kampung Tambatuon near here than meets the eye. While the government adamantly pursues its plan to submerge the pretty village under a sea of water by building a controversial dam, rumours has it that the authorities have discovered something else – gold deposits!

In a new twist to the controversy, two locals familiar with the site and its history said that gold deposits in the area may be the reason the government is determined to build the dam despite the widespread condemnation for the proposal from villagers, senior politicians and environmental groups.

Former Kadamaian assemblyman Ismail Gimbad, 71, and Stephen Gaimin, 30, a history major and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) supreme council member, said they have historical evidence of a botched gold prospecting project in the area in the early 1960s.

According to Ismail, the gold exploration started at the foot of the famous Nungkok Hill in Tambatuon.

“If my memory does not fail me, in early 1960s there was a joint venture between a Philippines company called Suriano and Co and a local Mohd Yasin Hashim. That was during our early Merdeka days.

“They brought in drilling machines to Nungkok near Tambatuon, to analyse the gold deposits found in the area.
“Unfortunately, there was a landslide and all their machines were buried under a huge pile of earth,” according to Ismail, who served as Sabah finance assistant minister in the 1970s.
He says the gold exploration exercise carried out by the company was a serious affair and the landslide crippled it.

The drilling machines that were buried in the landslide were worth not less than RM1 million, which was quite a huge investment then and substantiates the claim (that was gold in the area).

“The site where the machines were buried must be somewhere not very far from the current Kampung Kaung at the foot of Nungkok Hill, just a little bit up from the current Kampung Tambatuon,” Ismail told FMT recently.

Government secrets
Gaimin, who is from nearby Tenghilan, an area adjacent to Tuaran, backs up Ismail’s story.

He told FMT in an interview that the authorities must have known that there was something more “precious or lucrative” than land in the area and that was why the federal and state governments are adamant at acquiring Tambatuon despite the resistance of the local folk.

“It could be gold… Is it gold what they are really looking for behind this proposed water dam?” he asked.

In Malaysia, information on possible precious mineral deposits like oil and gold are government secrets, both at the pre- and post-exploration stage.

No one but the prime minister knows the exact figusres and statistics on the state of the country’s oil wealth or how it is being spent. Even Parliament is not told.

However, there are records suggesting that in Sabah, gold deposits have been found in areas like Mamut in Ranau, Segama in Lahad Datu, Maliau Basin in Tawau, in Keningau and also in Nungkok/Tambatuon.

It gives an interesting twist to the controversial dam which both Ismail as well as opposition PKR have suggested it be scrapped or built in a less populated area like in Kopungitan near Mount Tambuyukon at the border of Kota Belud and Kota Marudu.

Opposition figures like DAP’s Lim Kit Siang as well as SAPP leader Yong Teck Lee have spoken out against the dam that the government envisages will provide irrigation for the existing 25,000 hectares of paddy fields in Kota Belud, the rice bowl of Sabah as well as prevent flooding.

More tourists
However, locals point to the fact that the paddy fields have all these years been well served by a British-built small dam in Wokok near the township and smaller dams up the Kadamaian River, which until now is one of the cleanest rivers in the country.

Environmentalists say the RM500-million dam will be a catastrophe for the area and the people who are bitterly opposed to the idea of relocating from their scenic kampung.

Just last week, the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa) held its World Environment Day Activity at the kampung in a show of support for the residents in their struggle to save their village.

The village has seen an increasing flow of visitors drawn both by curiosity as well as to show their support for the spirited villagers who are determined to stop the flooding of their ancestral lands at
any cost.

The hint that there is gold in the hills surrounding Tambatuon is bound to add intrigue and suspense to an already fascinating mix of power, politics and payments.

If nothing else, the villagers should expect a “gold rush” of even more visitors.


Search This Blog