Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Najib changes tune over ‘dirty’ coal

MALAYSIA’s Prime Minister appears to have changed his mind over his green and renwable energy policy in less than a fortnight.
In a keynote address at the Tenaga Nasional anniversary celebrations in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 31, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) had asked Tenaga to revamp its obsolete energey policy, saying “coal is what we call dirty technology, it’s not environmentally friendly.”
But on Saturday, Najib asked Sabahans to compromise on a controversial RM2 billion coal power plant of 300MW to be built in the Felda Sabahat scheme in the east coast of Sabah.
“First, it was to be built in (Silam) Lahad Datu but the people there objected… and then (the proposed project was) moved to Sandakan but the people there also objected; so lastly in my capacity as the Minister overlooking Felda, I propose to build it in a Felda area,” he was quoted as saying at the launching the Parti Bersatu Sabah congress in Kota Kinabalu.
Najib went on to further state that despite the dire need for power supply in Sabah, the setting up of the power plant was objected to just because it will rely on coal to generate power.
“Otherwise, we won’t have any power. Our people must decide. You want power (but) at the same time you don’t want the power plant. You want the plant somewhere else, not in your backyard. So, this our problem. We have wasted much time pushing it around,” he said, adding that in order to achieve something good, there was a need for all to make some sacrifices.
This statement by Najib, front-paged in local newspapers today, came as a surprise to Sabah environmentalists who last month had formed a Green Surf group comprising NGOs opposing the coal-fueled power plant project.
“We are disappointed. It’s heart breaking for Sabahans to hear the Prime Minister asking us to compromise on dirty coal,” said Wong Tack, president of the Sabah Environmental Protection Association, a member of the Green Surf group.
Wong hoped local leaders would properly brief Najib on the concerns of the people as he could have been misinformed. “Otherwise, we will have to present the views of the people directly to the Prime Minister,” he said.
The Green Surf group which has set up a webpage on Facebook with a 1,000 members has urged more to visit to sign its online petition against the coal plant.

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