Sabah having second thoughts on RM1.3bil project in Silam

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 02 Apr 2008

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Government is having second thoughts over a RM1.3bil controversial coal-fired power plant in Silam in the state’s east coast.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said the state Cabinet would discuss the proposed 300MW project at its meeting here today.

Opposition to the project have come from environmentalists and other concerned groups who fear that the pristine nature of the renowned Danum Valley and Darvel Bay would be polluted by it.

“Hopefully we will come to a decision so as to advise the parties concerned whether to go ahead or not with it. This is important given all the complaints we have received,” he said yesterday.

Earlier, Musa witnessed the signing of a credit arrangement scheme between the state-owned Sabah Development Bank Bhd and CIMB Investment Bank Bhd and AmInvestment Bank Bhd totalling more than RM1bil.

The proposed power plant to be sited at the abandoned 128.7ha seafront Pacific Hardwood integrated timber complex is a joint venture between Tenaga Nasional and Yayasan Sabah that have formed Lahad Datu Energy Sdn Bhd (LDESB).

On Monday, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd with Lahad Datu Energy issued a notice seeking public comment on the project’s detailed environmental impact assessment (EIA).

The Department of Environment stated that the public could view the EIA report of Ecotone Environmental Management Sdn Bhd from March 31 until April 30 and forward opinions to the department before May 15.

Villagers and the business community in Lahad Datu as well as the Sabah Environment Action Committee (EAC) have been opposing the project since it came to their knowledge in 2006.

Lahad Datu EAC chairman Wong Tack said the coal plant project was an unnecessary risk to health.

He said that despite arguments that modern coal-fuelled power plants were cleaner than those a generation ago, the group felt there was no environmental agency capable of enforcing mitigating measures.

Wong said power from the mammoth Bakun dam in Sarawak could also be tapped for use within Lahad Datu’s palm oil industrial cluster.

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