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LNG power plant: What’s the hurry, Najib?

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Environment Protection Association (Sepa) president, Wong Tack, questioned the lightning speed in which the government decided to use LNG (liquefied natural gas) in place of the botched ‘clean’ coal-powered plant in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

“Prime Minister Najib Razak said in Putrajaya yesterday (Monday) that every decision needs to be made meticulously and not in haste. But here we have this LNG for Sabah, we don’t know yet if it is feasible but it appears a decision has already been made,” he said.

On Sunday, Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman disclosed that Najib had asked Petronas and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to work out an arrangement to ship LNG from Bintulu, Sarawak to generate alternative power supply to Sabah’s east-coast.

Musa said Najib gave the order during the recent National Economic Action Council (NEAC) meeting. Wong urged caution and a thorough study as it involves gargantuan-sized investment.
“We are back at square one. Making decisions in haste. Sepa never recommended a LNG-powered plant in place of the aborted coal-powered plant.

We wanted renewable energy like a biomass-fueled plant,” he told a press conference here Tuesday.

The controversial coal-powered plant was finally shelved by Najib last week after the Sabah government rejected it at least twice and after years of unrelenting opposition from environmentalists, including Sepa.

Use biomass instead
Today Wong also suggested that the government set up an all-inclusive committee or task force to analyse the power needs in Sabah.

“We still have problems of shortage of power, and yet we have tens of millions of tonnes of biomass in east coast untapped for power. We have investors to take up this task to produce electricity from biomass.

“Former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi approved a 300MW gas-powered plant in Kimanis. And there are two (diesel-powered IPP) plants in Sepanggar, one with a 100MW capacity and the other 190MW.

“What we need is a southern grid to connect this power from west-coast to east-coast. We ask the government not to repeat the same costly mistake it made with the coal-powered plant proposal where a lot of energy, time and resources were wasted.

“Please look into our proposal to develop renewable energy. Consider establishing a task force of stakeholders,” he said, adding that more often than not policy makers made mistakes because they did not listen to stakeholders and the people.

Wong said that Sepa was consultated on the current LNG proposal and added that the government was again ignoring the views of independent environmental groups and NGOs.
“Sabah has no choice but to lead in environment-friendly policies. We are blessed with world-class resources and should lead the world in managing the environment well, including control of logging, conserving mangroves and developments on islands.

“There is a premium value on tourism and we should capitalise on this and build our green economy based on our god-given environment,” he said.

Meanwhile, an economist said the government should plan carefully for the future needs of the state in terms of power supply and other basic necessities.

According to the government, TNB is subsidising diesel for IPP plants in Sabah to the tune of RM700 million annually, or RM2 million a day.

They also said building the southern grid would cost between RM300 million to RM600 million.
“A lot of money is involved here. It is a matter of prioritising which is the best solution before rushing ahead to provide a stable supply of electricity to Sabah’s east coast,” said the  economist, who declined to be named.


  1. Wang Besar wang besar mah..
    lu tak tau kah umno upko mau makan manyak2 mah itu montis gamuk mah ali-ali main jackpot sana KK

  2. Federal leaders know where and when to spend people's money, don't you worry brother..

    Coal-powered plant gone, so LNG power plant suck the money lor...

    This is money matter..

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