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Rethink decision not to use coal
Published on: Thursday, November 30, 2023
By: Hayati Dzulkifli
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Rethink decision not to use coal
Tamin said the construction of a power plant that uses coal resources in Sabah to generate electricity had still not been finalised by the State Government. - Right: An aerial view of Sabah’s coal-rich Maliau Basin. Bernama pic
Kota Kinabalu: Pantai Manis Assemblyman Tamin Zainal proposed that Sabah uses its abundant coal as a source of electricity generation as it is the cheapest alternative.

He said Sabah had its own coal resources and power plant capacity that could be developed over 1000 MW.

“As we all know, Sabah is rich in natural products, especially coal. The 2021 Mineral Resource Assessment Activity Report conducted by Compendium (2021) showed that the coal mineral reserves in Sabah have an estimated reserve of about 1,562,150,000 metric tonnes worth RM94,460 billion.

“Yet, we in Sabah are still far behind in terms of the use of coal as a source of electricity based on the Malaysian Energy Statistics Guide 2021, as of Dec 31, 2020.

“The statistics stated that the report on coal energy resources in Sabah on coal power capacity is not yet available, unlike in Peninsular Malaysia which has been developed as much as 12,180.0 MW and Sarawak 1,103.9 MW.

“That is why I would like to suggest the State government consider using coal as a source of electricity in this state,” Tamin said when debating the 2024 State Budget at the State Legislative Assembly here on Tuesday.

By using coal as a source of power supply in Sabah, he said would benefit the users as they could enjoy low electricity tariff rates.

“Taking this justification into account, it is appropriate coal is used optimally as possible to generate electricity in this state.

However, this natural resource need to be managed effectively to optimise the production of resources and state revenue,” he said.

Tamin said the construction of a power plant that uses coal resources in Sabah to generate electricity had still not been finalised by the State Government.

Therefore, he said it is vital to emphasise that this motion be given due consideration by the government.

On another issue, Tamin questioned a flood mitigation project in Kg Kuala, Papar that had been approved by the then Minister of Environment and Water Malaysia Dato’ Sri Ustaz Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, last year, which had yet to start for implementation.

He said the Minister concerned announced the approved project during his visit with the Ministry, Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), Public Works Department (JKR) and Papar District Office in 2022.

“The Federal Government has allocated RM34 million to implement a flood mitigation project to deal with the flood problems in this district and the surrounding areas starting in early 2023 and is expected to be completed in the next three years.

“The scope of the project, to be carried out, is to build a 1,150-metre long beach barrier and erosion protection structure in Kg Kuala Dalam, by cleaning the site, dredging, adding soil, building coastal erosion and control structures and deepening the mouth of Sungai Papar.

“However, this project has not yet started. Therefore, I request that this project be given full approval for implementation in the near future to curb the flood problems faced by the residents of Papar,” he said.

Among the public complaints regarding basic facilities in Papar, he said is the street lights that are mostly unlit, especially in the town.

“Based on complaints from local residents, only half of the street lights along the Papar bridge leading to Kg. Benoni that are still lit, while the other half does not work.

This problem not only causes inconvenience to local residents but it will endanger the safety of road users.

“Another basic amenity, I would like to raise is the need for cleaning and maintenance works such as drains and drainage systems in and around Papar town. 

“It needs to be carried out regularly, especially around the premises of Bank Simpanan Nasional, in low-cost housing areas and village surroundings. This is due to the existing drainage system, many of which have blocked the flow and some damaged,” he said.

Tamin said problems such as blocked drainage system would cause various problems such as unpleasant odours and this blocked water flow is also a potential breeding ground for Aaedes mosquitoes.

If not maintained, he feared it might affect the environment and threaten the health of local residents.

“It can also be the cause flooding and overflowing rainwater on the road when the rainy season arrives.” 

Therefore, he requested the government to investigate and provide funds so that the cleaning and maintenance works could be carried out as soon as possible.

“There is a need to re-seal potholes on the road from Kg Takis to the Papar District Hospital as this is one of the alternatives routes often used by ambulance to transport patients.

“I am also requesting re-surfacing work on a 4.5km route from Papar town to Pantai Manis as soon as possible, as road users complained about the damaged road,” Tamin said.

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