Sunday, August 22, 2010
Scrap Lahad Datu's coal-fired plant!
A posting by Rockybru on Friday, Aug 20 about the billion ringgit coal-fired plant in Lahad Datu near Sandakan, Sabah draws my attention. And taking the Q from him, I would like to add a few lines (or facts) about it.
I wonder whether Che Khalib Mohamad Noh is still one of the directors of Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd who was also responsible in 'approving' the project. And, is his buddy at Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Abdul Razak Majid still holding similar SEB directorship? (here)
If so, both can give a lengthy asnwer to the progress of the coal-fired plant, which was met with criticism not only from people in Lahad Datu and Sandakan but NGOs and environmentalists alike. And the rumors that it was meant as a 'parting gift' for Pak Lah and his friends (who could they be?) has opened up questions to possibility - that it was a syndicated political project.
However, I dont want to go into its depth. What concerns me and many is the fact that the EIA reports was in favor of such a plant, which has been banned in many countries like most in Europe for its devastating air pollution impact.
What went wrong at the EIA agency? Who got the order to tamper with its originally 'obstructing contents' and gave it a 'clear' for the construction of the plant? If nobody wants to answer this, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will have no choice but to set up an inquiry on it.
Something was not right with the site report, either. It was originally proposed some 10km from the shore but it was then agreed that it must be built by the sea as it would accommodate the setting up of a port for ships ferrying coals.
Another burning issue is that, the Bakun Dam project which is expected to be completed in 2011 should be able to supply enough energy to the needs of Lahad Datu and Sandakan.
The argument is simple - the government, via TNB, plans a 676km submarine cables across the South China Sea to connect Bakun and Peninsular Malaysia, when in fact the distance from Miri to Sandakan is only 480km. Besides, the idea to sell Bakun's electricity to Brunei and Kalimantan has to be reconsidered. Why cant we sell it to the people and industry in Sabah and Sarawak first instead of providing it to other countries?
Maybe we could also consider the summary of the EIA reports here and comments by those who have read it.
Transportation via marine vessels will generate waste oils and bilge water. If not properly managed and disposed, these will lead to pollution of marine waters. Piling and trenching activities will increase the turbidity in the construction and adjacent area. According to the hydraulic modelling results, the suspended sediment concentrations in excess of 50mg/l in the worst case scenario (during the North East Monsoon) are limited to only within about 150m from the piling and trenching sites (on both sides).
I am not an expert. Maybe Rocky and the rest of you can understand it. But my summary is simple: stop the plan, fully-utilise Bakun's supply and leave Lahad Datu's shores clean and healthy. To those who wanted to benefit from the project, you are doomed!