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Kubota Power plant on course for opening, but still faces opposition

The Kubota power station will start producing electricity from Jan.7, next year, and its 64MW capacity is expected to increase supply in the east coast.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui, who visited the project site, was satisfied with the progress of the RM80 million project.

“The east coast of Sabah has been facing inadequate electricity supply, and the Kubota power station is badly needed to offset the situation,” he said.

Asst Infrastructure Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, who accompanied Chin, said the gas-fired turbine generator would increase Tawau’s power generating capacity to 128MW to meet the peak demand of 90MW at present, and would help reduce power outages in the district.

Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd Managing Director Abd Razak Sallim was present.

Launching of the station was behind schedule due to the hijack of the turbines, recently, which had caused a set-back when they ended up in the Philippines.

Chin, during the launching ceremony, also witnessed a presentation of contribution for construction of a surau at Millenium residential estate from Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) Remaco and PDI Turcomp Consortium.

Also present were a group of peaceful protestors comprising Democratic Action party (DAP) members led by Jimmy Wong, Sabah Progressive Party members led by Datuk Chua Soon Bui, Sabah Environment Protection Association (Sepa) led Gary Yap Mom Him and representatives from the Millenium housing estates to show their objection to the station.

Wong and his team had intended to submit a memorandum to Chin but their effort proved futile.

‘If they do not wish to receive our memorandum, then we have to go to the press to voice out its contents,” Wong told reporters.

The memorandum among others contained a request for the justification of spending RM80 million on the project, seeking explanation from TNB over the allegation that Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) is paying TNB Remaco RM18 million annually for routine maintenance and services of the plant and demanded that the public has the right to know the mechanism of the deal made.

‘Our memorandum also touches on the unlikelihood of engaging TNB Remaco while SESB should have the capabilility and professionalism to conduct the routine maintenance and services,” he added.

The other matter mentioned in the memorandum was the location of the fuel tank which is less than 50 meters from a public road and the Millenium housing estate. Wong also said they propose that SESB manage the project without any interference from TNB and not to outsource to TNB Remaco.

‘The other matter was the setting up of an independent committee to study over the potential harm to nearby residences and the plant’s contract should be made known to the public,” he said.

Chua, on the other hand, she was invited by residents to attend the event as a show of support to their plea but expressed her disappointment that they were not entertained by Tan and barred from entering the premise.

“Residents there would only like to get assurance from Tan that the plant will pose no hazard to them as there is millions of litres of diesel fuel stored in the facility,” she said.

“Another matter is the use of the 16 year old turbines which I believe do not have the current technology in protecting the environment.

We have exhausted our effort and have no choice but to seek a judicial review,” Yap said.

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