Power Deal With Sarawak Will Shock Sabahans Says Dap Man


 
Bung Moktar Radin came under fire from Shafie Abdal and Phoong Jin Zhe over the power deal with Sarawak that could be costly for Sabahans.KOTA KINABALU: The power deal which the Sabah government signed with Sarawak in August will put the state at the losing end, a state opposition assemblyman says.
DAP’s Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe contended that the power exchange agreement (PEA) signed between the states back in August, which entails Sabah purchasing power from its neighbour, may be “one-sided”.
Phoong said he and other opposition representatives including former chief minister Shafie Apdal had brought up the issue with deputy chief minister Bung Moktar Radin during the state assembly sitting yesterday.

He said, from the written reply given by the state works ministry headed by Bung, Sabah is expected to purchase electricity at a price of 28.5 sen per kilowatt hour (kWh) under the PEA.
“And we will have to bear an annual escalation rate of 1.5%,” he said in a statement here today.
“On the 15th year in 2038, we will have to purchase power at a tariff of 35.6 sen per kWh. So, it is important to look into this and consider whether the deal is worthwhile.
“If we were to purchase power at such a high tariff, how much would the state charge the public? Will Sabahans have to bear a higher electricity tariff?” he asked, adding Sabah will have to pay over RM1.1 billion by the end of the deal.
Sabah struck the deal with Sarawak with hopes that it will address the unstable electricity supply in the state.
State utility company Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) inked the agreement with Sarawak Energy Bhd’s (SEB) subsidiary, Syarikat Sesco Bhd.
Phoong’s question over the power deal was among a list of queries by assemblymen included in the question-and-answer (Q&A) time in the morning but were not read out due to the session’s limited one-hour period.
However, elected representatives were still given written answers by the respective ministries on all questions raised earlier.
Phoong later brought up the issue with Bung during the latter’s winding-up speech, saying he was concerned Sabah might be buying electricity at a higher price than normal from Sarawak.
“Bung however did not reply to my question with details,” he said, adding Bung mentioned that it would be inappropriate for him to reply as he did not have the details of the agreement.
The Sabah Umno chief went on to say that he would ask the SESB chairman to explain to him about the deal.
Shafie said it was unacceptable if SESB did not inform Bung over the contents of the deal.
“This is a matter that affects every single one of us and we must rectify this if the SESB did not inform the minister or the state government as a whole,” said the Warisan president.
Bung responded that he would take note of the issue and would give his reply in the next assembly sitting.
Phoong said the initial idea to purchase power from Sarawak was proposed during Pakatan Harapan’s tenure but Sarawak’s offer was too high so no agreement was reached. - FMT


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