Prove Tawau power project detrimental, Sepa told

Pang shows the text message from a Sepa member on his mobile phone.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa) should not make assumptions but show the facts and figures to prove the 64MW power plant project in Taman Millenium, Tawau will be damaging to the people, said Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.

The Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development said the government could not stop projects that would benefit the people just because of objection by a small group of individuals.

“The government cannot run on assumptions… If you run on objections based on a small group of people, with due respect to them (Sepa), they have the right to object, but we have the rights of the people to protect,” Pang said yesterday when asked to comment on Sepa’s objection to the RM80 million power plant project at the residential area.

Sepa president Wong Tack told a press conference on Monday they strongly objected to the project.

He said he was accused of trying to put on a show and was not entertained by the staff at Pang’s office when he flew to Tawau last week with the intention to meet Pang to voice his concern over the matter.

Pang said the project was actually to build a standby power plant that would only operate when there was a need.

The power station, which could run on gas or petrol, was expected to be ready in October this year, he said.

Pang said that currently the power supply capacity in Tawau was 64MW, but the demand was 90MW.

As the grid starts in Kota Kinabalu and ends in Tawau as the last stop, people in Tawau would be affected the most when power disruption occurred, he said.

With the 64MW power station to be added to the existing 64MW power supply, Tawau would have 124MW of electricity supply, he said.

Pang said the majority of Taman Millenium residents were not against this project.

He said two dialogues had been held pertaining to this project; one at Promenade Hotel which was attended by the community from Tawau, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and stakeholders, and the other at Taman Millenium itself around two months ago.

The second dialogue was attended by a few people from the first dialogue, representatives from Sepa and Tawau member of parliament Datuk Chua Soon Bui.

Pang said he acknowledged the concerns of the people voiced during the dialogues, but there were no organizations which put out statements saying that they represented the majority of the particular project stakeholders besides Sepa.

Without the support of the majority of residents in Taman Millenium, there was no point talking about the project that had followed procedure, he said.

On Wong’s trip to Tawau to meet him last week, Pang said Sepa should write in as he needed to gather the relevant individuals for the meeting on issues related to policies affecting the people.

He said it was unprofessional for the association to seek an appointment by just announcing the date in the papers.

Furthermore, Pang said, he was attending the launch of tyre vouchers for taxi association on the same day.

In the interview yesterday, Pang showed a text message that he claimed was sent by someone who identified himself or herself as a member of Sepa, to inform him (Pang) of the meeting.

Pang said he had replied to that person asking him or her to write in to set up an appointment.

He said Wong had gone to the wrong office as one of his staff had explained to the latter that the office he went to was Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Sri Tanjung office.

“I got a People’s Development Leader (PKR) office, I got a Merotai office,” he said, adding that Wong went to the wrong office.

“I think this is a publicity stunt, in this particular case, the people is not supporting his call, so he created this kind of sensationalized press release,” Pang said.

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