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World kudos for Malaysia in keeping Sabah coal-free

By Cynthia Ong & Jaswinder of Green Surf

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia has received a pat on the back from the international community for its decision to call off using coal for energy in Sabah, a move that will open doors to clean power options in the state.
Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the World Bank, Professor Daniel M. Kammen said by cancelling a proposed coal plant in favour of sustainable energy options, Malaysia has opted to invest in a healthy economy and environment for the state of Sabah.

“This is a turning point that should bring deserved praise and partnerships to Malaysia at the upcoming climate conference in Durban, South Africa.

“I am truly thrilled by the efforts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and for their leadership in directing the course of the nation and state towards a diverse mixture of energy resources.
Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the World Bank, Professor Daniel M. Kammen.

“This will help stabilize energy costs, bring new entrepreneurs into the energy field, create job growth, and cut local environmental impact and global greenhouse gas emissions growth,” Kammen said.
Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) had commissioned Kammen to prepare an energy options report for Sabah, in his capacity as Professor of Energy at the University of California in Berkeley.

“Energy and environmental victories often do not get the attention that negative events do, but here is a case where a collaborative set of environmental groups led by Green SURF worked with elected officials to create dialogue with the public, and to bring critically needed technical materials such as the energy options report we produced to decision makers.

"I am thrilled to have been able to work with the people of Sabah on this victory, and look forward to watching the international community learn from Sabah’s triumph of planning and partnership,” he said.
A survey carried out last year revealed diverse marine life, including at this mud-flat off the site of the now cancelled coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
World Land Trust Chief Executive Officer and Founder, John Burton, congratulated the Government on making a rational decision that will have major benefits for all.

“It is good that they listened to public opinion, and shows a genuine commitment to the environment,” Burton said.

Lauding the Government’s decision, Malaysia’s South East Asia Field Coordinator Abe Woo said the move has chartered a new course in history of environmental movement and energy management.
“This signals a positive and responsive government as the whole international network of continues to support bold moves by the present government in combating climate change,” Woo said.

Jamie Henn, Communications Director described it as a “victory that’s felt all around the world.”
The Government’s decision to opt for cleaner sources of energy to meet Sabah’s demand is in line with its commitment to safeguard the environment. is an international movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis.
Environmental campaigner Roz Savage shared the State Government’s statement through Twitter, adding that she was honoured and proud to have been part of the campaign calling for the project to be canned. Savage was the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean and was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2010.

Sabah born artist and creator of the “Postcards2PM” project which saw thousands signing postcards that were sent to Najib, hoped that the authorities including Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd will engage with environmentalists in providing sound solutions.
This is the site of the now cancelled coal-fired power plant in Kampung Sinakut, Lahad Datu, Sabah.

“I hope the authorities will keep environmental protection at the forefront of all development,” Yee said.
Green SURF also received a number of reactions at its blog site, with readers giving the thumbs up to the government, happy that their voices were heard.

Wednesday’s announcement by Musa that no coal plant will be constructed in Sabah came as a welcome surprise, following months of silence by the authorities after the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment study for a site in Lahad Datu was rejected in August last year.

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