Green light for coal-fired power plant

(The Star) TAWAU: The Government has given the green light for the controversial coal-fired power plant to be set up in the Felda Sahabat scheme about 100km from Lahad Datu.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the power plant was necessary to overcome the serious electricity supply problem in Sabah.

“It was planned for Lahad Datu and Sandakan but they did not want it (situated there), so as the minister-in-charge of Felda, we will do it in Felda Sahabat or Sabahans will not get enough electricity supply,” he said at a breaking fast ceremony with some 15,000 people at Masjid Al Kauthar here.

“I am curious that there are constant power cuts in Tawau,” he said, adding that such interruptions were not only an inconvenience but it caused losses as well.

Najib said that the Government was keen to resolve the people’s electricity woes in Sabah and promised that steps would be taken to resolve the problem.

The move to initially set up a 300MW coal plant in Silam near Lahad Datu was rejected by the state government following protests. It was then proposed that it be situated in Sandakan, but this was also met with protest, urging the government to use green technology or other alternative power sources.

Najib said as an immediate measure, a generator owned by Sime Darby would be sent by the end of the year as a short-term solution. A gas-powered plant would also be built.

He said that unlike the Opposition who made promises they could not keep, the Barisan government would deliver on the promises they made.

Citing the Kg Buah Pala controversy in Penang, he said the Pakatan Rakyat had promised the Indian community there before the elections that they could stay on at the settlement, but when the developer moved in, the opposition leaders were nowhere to be seen.