WE refer to Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin’s comment, “Solar electricity cheaper to produce” reported on Sept 3 (bit.ly/solar_cheap), on prices submitted for the third cycle of the large-scale solar scheme tender.
We sincerely hope the minister will consider the following before giving the Energy Commission policy direction on the matter.
Preference should be given to 100%-owned Malaysian companies or Malaysian consortiums, as it is important to support local companies to further grow in this industry; this will also stimulate the local economy.
Malaysian companies are simply not able to compete with international companies and, whether we like it or not, solar panels, inverters and other equipment will most likely be purchased from China because, based on scale, the prices will be much lower there. As such, if companies in China were to participate directly or indirectly in local tenders, Malaysian companies will not be able to compete on pricing. So government tenders must only be awarded directly to fully-owned Malaysian companies for them to be able to survive.
It was, in our view, a mistake to award a government infrastructure project like the ECRL (East Coast Rail Link) to Chinese government- linked companies when it could have been undertaken by a consortium of large Malaysian companies. Foreign companies should participate in non-government guaranteed projects and they could undertake these projects based on commercial viability and risk assessments.
The ministry should also assist local companies participating in the large-scale solar scheme by encouraging financial institutions to support renewable energy projects. Awards of projects should be based on use of locally manufactured goods and local employment opportunities rather than just low pricing.
In short, we request that the minister put Malaysian companies first.
ANGRY MALAYSIAN VOTER