Friday, February 18, 2011

Malaysia drops 300MW coal-fired Sabah power plant project

KOTA KINABALU, Feb 17 (Bernama) -- The more than 3.3 million people in Sabah can now heave a big sigh of relief as the government has made a final decision not to build coal-fired power plants in the state.

The long-awaited decision proved beyond doubt that the government subscribed to the 1Malaysia concept which prioritised the people's interests.

In delivering the good news yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the Barisan Nasional (BN) government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was "a government that always listens to the voice and feels the pulse of the people".

The timely announcement was made all the more sweet because the Federal and state governments had also agreed to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) to generate power instead of coal-fired energy.

"This is a perfect new year gift for the people of Sabah. This decision is correct and it reflects the BN's sensitivity to the grouses of the people.

"It means that our Chief Minister is listening and we in Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) certainly welcome this decision," said PBS secretary-general Datuk Henrynus Amin to Bernama, here Thursday.

For this, he congratulated Musa on his bold decision to cancel out the proposed coal plant project in Lahad Datu for the good of the people.

"We believe that the state government must have taken into account all factors before making the decision," he said.

Local political analyst Edward Kandok perceived this development as another "plus point" for the BN to further strengthen its position in Sabah, dubbed as a "fixed deposit" for Barisan.

"This is the kind of government we want. I believe the majority of the local people are happy with the government's decision that finally put the coal plant issue to rest," he said.

In September 2009, Najib disclosed Felda Sahabat in Lahad Datu as the proposed site for the construction of the coal-based power plant.

Currently, the electricity supply capacity in the eastern coast of Sabah is 200 megawatts from a diesel-based power plant.

Environmental groups such as Green Surf have protested against the construction of the coal-based power plant, which they consider as "dirty" energy, and called on the government to scrap the plan.

However, in August last year, the Environment Department had rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) for the project but Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), in its 2010 Annual Report, mentioned that "a reviewed DEIA report will be submitted for study and approval" for a 300MW plant.

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