SANDAKAN: Sabah DAP Secretary Chan Foong Hin has challenged Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili to claim credit for the so-called accomplishments made during the latter’s tenure as a minister in charge of energy in the previous government under the leadership of former primer minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.
Chan, who is also Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament (MP), said Ongkili, who is Kota Marudu MP, claimed that the Pakatan Harapan-led (PH) government had done “literally nothing” for Sabah’s energy needs.
“We know that during your (Ongkili’s) tenure, you were the most ‘successful’ energy minister that history has ever seen and that you have managed many achievements and accomplishments, including the Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP) fiasco, Tawau Green Energy scandal, and the solar power project scandals involving Najib and wife (Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor), which all took place during your tenure.
“Dr Max (Ongkili) must have been really, really proud of these feathers in his cap … come and share your experience with the rakyat (people) of Sandakan how you approved all these scandalous projects during your ‘ceramah’ (talks),“ Chan said sarcastically in a statement here tonight.
He also criticized PBS for being politically bankrupt with no substantive issues to raise, and even had to resort to dirty tactics of making unsubstantiated claims, including claiming that PH did nothing for Sabah’s energy needs.
Chan noted that PH has decisively terminated the Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) Project, which involved building a 662km gas pipeline from the Kimanis Gas Terminal to Sandakan and Tawau, costing about RM4.06 billion, but RM3.5 billion of the total cost had been spent with the project nowhere near completion.
“Next, the PH government put an end to the 37 mega Watt (MW) geothermal plant project in Tawau awarded to Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd on July 2, 2015, a decision made after no major development progress had been seen at the project site, which was supposed to be completed and commence operations by end-2017,“ he said.
Chan said during PH’s rule, various small funds had been given out to pioneer projects in Sabah to bring electricity to more than 600 villages in isolated areas like Pensiangan, Paitan and various areas in Sipitang that still do not enjoy electricity.
“The major milestone that the PH government has achieved for Sabah’s energy is that the Cabinet approved in principle to return Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) to the state government, which is something Dr Max could not claim credit for as he, despite being Sabahan, had never brought it up in the Cabinet during his tenure as energy minister at the federal level,“ he said.
Chan also said Ongkili did not bother with fixing distribution of power and that the frequent blackouts in Sandakan in recent years had nothing to do with not having a power plant in Sandakan, but was more of a distribution issue.”
“The PH government has identified a pressing need for the transfer of power to the east coast by upgrading the transmission line from 180MW to 400MW.
“Once the transmission line is completed, the plan is that by 2022, they will have to find the best power plant option and tender it out because four years would be needed to build a power plant,“ he said.
In this regard, Chan credited Ongkili for moving efforts to plan for the upgrading of the transmission line during the previous government but “the implementation is horribly slow. We are now speeding things up.” — Bernama
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