‘We’ll cancel the dams and coal plant proposals’

By Queville To, Free Malaysia Today

PENAMPANG: The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has vowed to scrap the controversial coal-fired power plant in Sinakut, Lahad Datu, and the two proposed dams in Kaiduan, Papar and in Kampung Tambatuon in Kota Belud if it comes into power in the next general election. SAPP president Yong Teck Lee made this pledge at the launching of its Kampung Nambazan branch in Moyog here over the weekend.

Also present at the occasion were former state finance minister Mohd Noor Mansor, Moyog branch chairman Benjamin Siowou and senior party officials.

“We shall fulfil whatever promises that we have made as credibility is one of SAPP’s seven values,” declared Yong to enthusiastic applause.

The former chief minister of Sabah is confident that the promises can be achieved as under the federal and state constitutions, both land and water supply come under state jurisdiction.

“Hence, whatever developments which the state government does not agree with can be stopped.

“We will then look into the various other options which are more environmental-friendly and efficient like natural gas, micro hydro dam etc with the full consultation with the stakeholders,” he said.

He also contended that all these proposed mega projects are unnecessary, with inflated costs and do not benefit the people.

“Why must we allow our natural gas to be siphoned all the way to Bintulu, Sarawak instead of keeping it for our own use, to power our houses and industries? Why must we purchase coal from Kalimantan, Indonesia for the coal-fired power plant purchased from China, at a whopping cost of RM1.7 billion?

“Petronas and TNB (Tenaga Nasional Bhd) are laughing all the way to the bank. All that the people of Sabah will get at the end of the day is a host of pollution-related health issues,” he said, adding that Sabahans might also end up paying higher electricity bills due to the inflated cost of the coal plant.

In addition, he also questioned the rationale behind the increase in the project cost from RM1.2 billion to RM1.7 billion, even before it is implemented. The cost may further increase if the proposal goes through, he warned.

Useless dam project

On the proposed Tambatuon dam project, Yong said he was outraged by the recent statement by the Federal Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Noh Omar that the RM450 million project is meant for irrigation purposes.

“Irrigation of the paddy fields can always be done by channelling water from the nearby rivers, it’s not necessary to build a mega dam,” he said.