Adenan wants SEB to light up the rural areas

Adenan (fourth from left) cutting a ‘pulut kuning’ with (from left) Asfia, Awang Tengah, Sjotveit and Jamilah. — Photo by Chimon Upon

Adenan (fourth from left) cutting a ‘pulut kuning’ with (from left) Asfia, Awang Tengah, Sjotveit and Jamilah. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem wants Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) to tweak its electricity grid system to ensure power reaches all rural homes.

He said although the government had introduced schemes such as the Rural Electrification Scheme (RES), they were still insufficient in penetrating the rural areas.

There are cases, he pointed out, where settlements do not have electricity supply even though they were located near hydro-electric dams.

“I know that improving and upgrading this (grid) system will be costly, but if we want to cover the whole of Sarawak, we must look after those who are marginalised.

“In the upcoming budget, I want more allocations from the state and federal governments for this area,” he said at SEB’s Hari Raya gathering held at Menara Sarawak Energy here yesterday.

On a related matter, Adenan complimented SEB for its ability to provide cheap electricity to consumers in the state.

“If we can provide cheap electricity supply to foreign investors, such as those from South Korea, Japan, and so on, who set up companies here, why can’t we provide cheap electricity for our own people?

“That is the reason why I complimented SEB for being able to provide cheap electricity tariffs to our people.”

SEB chief executive officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit, in his speech, said SEB’s Research and Development Department was working very closely with the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development and Ministry of Public Utilities to bring electricity supply to every rural household.

He said the state’s rural electricity coverage had reached 86 per cent. It was 66.5 per cent in 2009.

Based on the progress of the RES, he said electricity coverage across the state now stood at 91 per cent, and SEB was working hard to reach 100 per cent with the support of the government.

“We have been able to fulfil the chief minister’s commitment to reduce domestic, industrial and commercial tariffs. Sarawakians now enjoy the lowest rates in Malaysia, and we are among the lowest in the region.”

Among those present at the event were Adenan’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan and Assistant Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Sylvester Entri Muran.