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TAWAU: A prominent Chinese leader in Tawau has welcomed the proposed Lahad Datu power plant, saying it could be a "panacea" to the electricity supply woes faced by the more than 400,000 people in Tawau.
Tan Sri Liew Yun Fah expressed confidence that the new power plant would turn their fortunes around.
"We certainly appreciate the commitment by the government, especially Petronas to address the power problems in the east coast of Sabah, including in Tawau.
"We have experienced frequent power disruptions for ages, and I believe the Lahad Datu power plant could be the long-term solution to the persistent electricity disruptions," he told Bernama here.
Last year, Petronas announced that the national oil company would set up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) re-gasification terminal and help realise a new 300MW power plant in Lahad Datu.
The Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal and the power plant are expected to cost a whopping RM2.2bil and scheduled for completion in 2015.
This is part of a huge investment and its commitment to a combined capital expenditure of RM45bil to implement an integrated oil and gas master plan for Sabah, involving the development of several upstream and downstream projects over the next few years.
The other projects include the RM3.8 billion Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT), the RM1.5 billion 300MW gas-fired power plant in Kimanis and the RM4.6 billion mega fertiliser plan in Sipitang.
Liew, a former state Minister of Youth and Sports, said this showed the Federal government's seriousness in addressing Sabah's power problem.
He said this was also in line with the 1Malaysia concept, mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, which prioritises the interests of the people, irrespective of their race and creed.
The idea to set up the oil and gas terminal and the power plant in Lahad Datu came about after the government decided to scrap the controversial Lahad Datu coal-fired power plant early last year following protests by local people.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman was quoted as saying that the Federal and state governments had agreed to pursue alternative sources of energy like gas to meet Sabah’s power supply needs.
"The Prime Minister understands that while we need to build up our power supply in Sabah, it can’t be done at the expense of the people’s welfare and the environment,” Musa was reported as saying, adding Najib knows that the state’s greatest asset is its natural attractions and “somewhat pristine environment”. -- BERNAMA