Sunday, July 5

Protest over power tariff hike

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KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has called for the power supply management to be fully returned to the State Government after the recent power outage which left all of Sabah and Labuan without electricity for some ten hours.

SAPP Kota Kinabalu Youth chief John Stephen Dionysius said the power outage clearly showed the inability of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in managing the state’s power supply under Sabah Electricity Sdb Bhd (SESB).

“We think this is rather unfair for Sabah especially now with the increase in electricity tariff by 16.9 per cent,” he said during a peaceful protest staged by some 20 SAPP members at the SESB headquarters in Karamunsing here, at about 11am, Friday.

Also present are SAPP Youth chief Edward Dagul, SAPP supreme councillor Stephan Gaimin, SAPP Youth and Mudanita members.

More than 20 police and SESB security men blocked off access to the SESB HQ offices while some management personel and engineers meet the SAPP group.

“Last year, SAPP has called for the management of SESB to be fully returned to the State Government after major districts in the State were affected by more than seven hours power outage and today we make the same call again.

“We call for a short and long term solution to address the frequent power outage because there should be no more excuses from TNB and SESB.

“Yesterday, TNB disclosed that they earned a profit of RM1.4million, and today we read in the newspaper about SESB chiefs themselves admitting that they need RM2 billion for power utility management in Sabah.

“What is the option left for Sabahans, since RM2billion is needed by SESB, but the profit earned by TNB is only RM1.4million?,” he asked.

“They need to explain this matter to the people of Sabah because if they cannot manage power utility properly then they should return it to the State Government,” he said, stressing that there should not be anymore delay or excuses.

“Sarawak who manages their own power utility has no problems with their power supply and that is why we want SESB to be returned to the State Government,” he said.

The group gathered at the entrance of the Karamunsing Shopping Complex with banners with words ‘TNB tidak pandai urus SESB)’ (TNB does not know how to manage SESB) and ‘SESB tariff naik, perkhidmatan turun’ (SESB tariff increase, performance decrease).

Despite the rain, the group continued to proceed to Wisma SESB calling for the State Government to be given autonomy as police and SESB officials stood by.

There was a slight commotion among the crowd when one SESB engineer shouted to the group that power outage would not happened if they supported the coal power plant.

Police dispersed the group about 15 minutes later.