Press Release

KOTA KINABALU (25th October 2010): A coalition of non-governmental organisations here wants the Government to take a stand on the status of a proposed coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu.

The request from Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) comes two months after the federal Department of Environment (DOE) rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment report for the 300 megawatt project.

Green SURF’s Mr Wong Tack said the coalition was still waiting for a decision on whether the project will continue.

“We would like to know the stand of the authorities, in particular the Sabah Government. Green SURF wrote to the Sabah Government over three weeks ago, but we have yet to get feedback.

“We hope the State Government will take a stand based on the importance of the east coast of Sabah as a marine habitat. A huge amount is now being invested for activities in these areas, including through the national Budget for 2011,” he said in a statement issued by Green SURF.

Wong said there was too much anxiety at present over the proposed plant, especially among members of the public who have been in touch with the coalition.

“The public is asking for the State to focus on developing energy from renewable and green sources,” Wong said.

He said the power shortage problem in Sabah was still serious, and that too much time has been wasted on plans for a controversial coal plant, which has seen proposed sites shifting three times.

Wong said a recent speech made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the need to make a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy as a way to create a firm foundation for a greener economy was in line with calls made by Green SURF.

Wong said the Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan, and a dedicated statutory body called the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA Malaysia), must swing into work quickly.

He said the construction of a 300 megawatt Combined-Cycle Gas Power Plant in Kimanis as announced in the recent Budget must be expedited to increase electricity generation to meet rising demand.

The Budget also listed pioneer status and investment tax allowance for the generation of electricity from renewable sources and energy efficiency activities to be extended until Dec 31, 2015 and the implementation of a feed in tariff mechanism under the Renewable Energy Act to allow electricity generated by individuals and independent providers to be sold to electricity utility companies.

“This is not the time to just talk, but to do something. We are glad that better feed in tariffs are being considered for implementation. Such initiatives are needed for investors to take up renewable energy projects.

“The Government has to make it attractive for the private sector to play a role in developing green energy,” Wong said.

Green SURF comprises the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) of which Wong is president, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), WWF-Malaysia, Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) and the Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch).

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