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Curtin Malaysia engineering students visit Murum Dam

Miri – 22 May 2017 – Students of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) of Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently went for an industrial visit to the Murum Dam, Sarawak’s second hydroelectric project.

The purpose of the visit was to widen the students’ knowledge of power generation in Sarawak and the role of engineers in the energy sector. Accompanying the students were industrial and external relations advisor of the ECE Department and senior lecturer Dr Garenth Lim and electrical and computer engineering lecturer Dr Law Kah Haw.

The visit began with a presentation by electrical engineer Khamis Jumat and his team on the project’s hydropower system, including its construction and layout. This was followed by a tour of the plant during which the students were briefed on various aspects of its operation such as hydroelectric power generation, transmission, distribution and protection systems.

During their visit to Murum, the students stayed at Uma Belor Leo Dian, a Kayan longhouse in Sungai Asap, where they had the opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of the local community.

Dr Law thanked the ECE Department, as well as Khamis and his team at the Murum Dam, for the highly successful trip that allowed the students to learn a great deal about the physical characteristics of the dam and the processes and equipment used in a power regeneration plant.

“The best part of the visit was reaching the dam’s head where the view upstream towards the reservoir was simply breath-taking. Overall, it was a very fruitful and educational experience for all of us who were there for the first time,” said Dr Law.

Meanwhile, Dr Lim remarked that such industrial visits are a very important component of engineering courses at Curtin Malaysia, giving students valuable exposure to industrial practice so that they can better connect theory to real-life applications.

Second-year ECE student Clara Chan Jie Yun said the visit helped her better understand how hydroelectric power is produced and supplied to consumers, while second-year electrical power engineering student Cindy Lai Poh Yuan said she not only learned a lot about power generation at the dam but also Orang Ulu culture during their longhouse stay.

Hydroelectric power has a big potential in Sarawak due to the abundance of water in the state with an annual precipitation of about 4,000 millimetres and is increasingly being used as an alternative renewable energy source, particularly for the industrial sector.

The 944MW, Roller-Capacity Concrete (RCC) Murum Dam with a height of 141 metres and a catchment area of 2,750 square kilometres is owned and operated by state-owned Sarawak Energy Berhad and was developed as part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) initiative. It is located on the Murum River, which is in the uppermost part of the Rajang River Basin, about 200 kilometres from Bintulu.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (, its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia) or Instagram (curtinmalaysia).

View from atop the Murum Dam.

Briefing by Sarawak Energy staff in the plant’s control room.

Group photo of the students and staff at the hydroelectric dam.