The Federal Government should immediately utilize the RM1 billion additional allocation for Sabah to put up a petrochemical plant in Sabah, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (Upko) Secretary General Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said. “Our request is for the allocation to be used immediately to put up a petrochemical plant in Sabah and not wait for the master plan ... Just do it,” he said. He was commenting on the announcement by Prime Minister cum Finance Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Saturday that an additional RM1 billion allocation for Sabah was approved by the Cabinet to expedite development in rural areas with infrastructure projects for Parliamentary constituencies. Abdullah also said a master plan for the development of downstream petroleum and petrochemical industries would be drawn up for Sabah. RM1 billion is a lot of money and Petronas, which is drawing up the master plan , will invest a huge amount of money in the project but the spin-off for petrochemical is bigger and that is why the plant should be put up immediately,” he said. On the construction of a 300MW power station in Kimanis, Papar under a joint venture with Petronas and Sabah Foundation, Madius said it was not clear if the facility was to substitute the coal plant that was supposed to be built in Lahad Datu. If its purpose is to supply electricity to the East Coast, then there are some problems which have to be rectified first, he said. “Although power can be transferred from the Kimanis power plant to the East Coast there is always the risk of a major blackout as there is no loop in the existing grid,” he said, adding that an accident to the grid could cause another major blackout throughout the State like the one recently. According to him, the existing infrastructure, as far as the grid is concerned, only allows for a power station to be built in the East Coast, provided there is a loop,” he said. Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Information Chief Johnny Mositun welcomed the power plant as it will open up more job opportunities for Sabahans. “This is a good move and planning by the Government and is also the fruit of the hardwork of both past and present leaders who have been pushing for this,” he said, adding that the project would open up investment in Kimanis similar to the POIC in Lahad Datu. The Party’s Secretary General, Datuk Radin Malleh, said the RM1 billion is not much in terms of fast allocation. “An ADUN should be given a least RM 1 million each so that the voters can see immediate changes in their respective constituency. In fact I have spoken about all issues in Parliament when I was an MP. I even suggested the Government make a specially tailored blue print for Sabah to eradicate poverty,” he said. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) National Vice Chairman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the goodies announced by Abdullah were good but compared the gesture to ‘giving candy to a baby’. “This is only a token and coming after the ‘babies’ have been crying for 44 years,” he said, adding that like candy, the “goodies” would not last very long.