Friday, June 27, 2008


Nuclear energy may be best option for Sabah: Masidi


In an effort to maintain Sabah as an eco-tourism destination, the State Government will only opt for clean power generating sources to protect the flora and fauna. Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, in stressing this, said the Government had considered all sorts of power generating sources, and to date, the proposal of using nuclear technology seems bright. “It is known as the cleanest and cost-effective energy. We do not even have to worry about the escalating oil price and this is probably the best option since there have been strong objection from the people on the use of coal-fired technology to generate electricity in the State,’ he said. Speaking to the media after launching a book, entitled ‘The Mystic of Borneo-Kadayan’, at the Sabah Society office here yesterday, Masidi said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had also announced that the Government would probably consider nuclear technology. “I fully support the idea,” he said, adding that the State Government had considered other sources such as hydro, wind and solar technology but they either provide limited electricity supply or are too expensive. He added, “Even coal could deplete.” Masidi said nuclear technology has proved to be successful in France where half of the country’s power supplies are generated using the technology. “There is however a misconception on nuclear energy as many would associate it with wars. And there is fear that it could be misused, but I believe that with proper supervision by the United Nations and the Nuclear Committee, there should be no danger and that it would be restricted to supplying energy only,” he said. The Atomic Energy Licensing Board Director-General, Datuk Dr Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, had recently urged the Government to consider using nuclear power to generate electricity in the Country. Earlier, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili said his Ministry has prepared a comprehensive working paper to include nuclear as a new energy source that could generate electricity. Asked about the progress of Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s request for the State Government to allow it to find a new location in the east coast of Sabah to set up its proposed coal-fired power plant, Masidi said he would be leading a delegate for a study tour of other plants in the Peninsula and Sarawak. “The visit, which is arranged by TNB, will take place sometime in middle of July. And if it is necessary, we will be going to Korea and Japan to convince the State Government that only coal technology could meet the electricity needs in the east coast of Sabah,” he said. “Basically, the visit is to show us that there is nothing to fear about coal. “It is considered as a clean technology, but I must in all honesty tell you that there is no such thing as clean technology. Even in our daily life, we would contribute to pollution such as fuels, which release carbon monoxide,” he said. He said a report on the study tour would be submitted t. the State Cabinet. “There are a lot of things which need to be considered such as the amount of money we put out to set up the plant and how much it would cost us in the future,” he said. “We would prefer a cost effective technology which would bring good, to the people and the State,” he said. On another matter, Masidi said more locals should write books depicting the traditions, ethnics and cultures of Sabah. He said the newly launched book by Amde Sidik tells incidents involving the Kadayan communit in the 1950 to 1970s, touching on several aspects including culture, religion, customs and rituals. Describing Amde as a “weird but productive person”, Masidi said in a simple presentation, the author tried to excite readers on the importance of understanding ethnicity an culture. “There are about 300,000. Kadayans in the world, the majority’ of whom reside in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. But what surprises us is, Amde’s discovery of a pocketful of Kadayans who had made a silent, sojourn to Penang at the same time Francis Light landed on the island in, 1786. “Another interesting finding is the tracing of the family lineage of our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi where on his maternal side, he can trace his mother as a fifth generation Kadayan,” revealed’ Masidi. Masidi also encouraged Sabah Society to continue enhancing its collections and provide information and consultation services in its efforts to advance the intellectual development of the local community.