No formal approval yet for coal plant relocation: Masidi
The State Government has not given any formal approval for the relocation of the 300MW Silam coal power plant in the east coast of Sabah. Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said that the State Cabinet had yet to discuss the possibility of the coal plant being placed at a different location within the east coast. “At this point, we have not received any formal application. We will look at it and decide when the time comes,” he aid when contacted yesterday amid alarms bells being sounded by environmentalists over announcements that the State had agreed to the coal plant project. Masidi said this following a statement by Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shahizan Abu Mansor that the State had agreed in principle to give the go-ahead for the project to be relocated. The State Cabinet last month rejected the proposed RM 1.3 billion coal powered plant being undertaken by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tenaga Nasional Berhad, on environmental concerns and asked the power utility company to seek alternatives to coal power. However, Shahizan said on Saturday that the State was agreeable to relocating the plant to a suitable area as the SESB needed a power generation facility in the east coast. Masidi said that the State Cabinet rejection was on the location of the Silam coal plant, but said that there was no policy rejecting coal power generation for the State. Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) Chairman Wong Tack said SESB and TNB should abandon their plans for a coal powered plant and instead look for the cleaner option of natural gas that is readily available in Sabah. “There is no way that people in Sabah would agree to accept a potential environmental scourge. SEPA will continue to rally against the project if SESB and TNB are adamant about it wherever it is located in Sabah,” he said, urging the State to reject any fresh proposal.