Sunday, August 15, 2010

Justifications against Coal Power Plant for Sabah

This is a well researched article giving the justifications why Coal
Power Plant is extremely destructive to Sabah.

It is not just bad, but very destructive. Nature, Ecotourism is all
that Sabah has after Oil and Gas revenue had been taken away from
Sabah. Now they even want to deny Gas and Oil for Sabah's own

Preferring to import coal at huge costs and subsidies while spending
billions to build such an expensive Coal Power Plant. Gas power plant,
like that in Sepanggar bay is much cheaper, faster to build and easier
to power using Gas because Gas is already in Sabah, unlike Coal.

There is only one reason for the continuance of the Coal power plant.
To suck Sabah dry while ignoring the needs of Sabahans and its future.
It is a worst disaster than the loss of the Oil revenue and Labuan. At
these these losses do not affect our long term survival but Coal power
plant will destroy our future and quality of life.

Malaysia preparing to take big step backward on energy policy
Commentary by Cynthia Clare Ong Gaik Suan
August 13, 2010

An open letter to the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Dear Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak,

I write to you as a deeply concerned and saddened citizen of Malaysia.
For most of the 45 years of my life, I have been proud to be
Malaysian. Recently, I have become heartbroken to be Malaysian.

I am profoundly grateful to write this with the support of both my
local communities in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and California, U.S.A.,
and a larger world community. That said, I take full ownership of and
sole responsibility for the views articulated in this letter; I
express them from my stand as a mother, an earth citizen and a leader.

I founded and lead a public charity and non profit organization both
in Malaysia and in the U.S., to bridge between worlds and build
partnerships for ecological conservation. I have been at the front
lines of the founding and mobilization of Green SURF (Sabah Unite to
RePower the Future), the civil society movement opposing the
construction of the 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu,
Sabah, on the edge of the Coral Triangle, one of three of the world's
most bio-diverse ecosystems. You know. You signed the 6-nation
declaration between Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New
Guinea, East Timor and Solomon Islands to collectively protect this
1.6 billion acres of ocean. You also know of course of your pledge at
Copenhagen to reduce carbon emission intensity by up to 40% by 2020.
You likely also know that the plant will displace fishing communities
who have been there for a long time - irreparably contaminating their
livelihoods forever. And if you listened, you would also know that
they do not want the "development" that your government is imposing on

Tun Sakaran Marine Park , made up of pristine islands and marine
waters, lies off the coast of Semporna less than 100 kilometers from
the coal plant. Photo by: Yee I-Lann.

One of the priorities of Green SURF was to study clean energy
alternatives to the coal-plant, and propose them to the government. We
collectively invested tremendous time and resources to identify and
commission the expertise of Professor Daniel Kammen at Renewable and
Appropriate Energy Laboratory of University of California, Berkeley to
conduct the Clean Energy Options for Sabah report. We had no notion of
the outcome of the study, and results showed that Sabah is in an
exceptional position to shift towards clean energy due to the
availability of natural resources. We are in fact in an opportune
position to lead the nation and the region in clean energy - the kind
of leadership the world so urgently needs now. I wonder if you know
that Sabah is the last coal power-free frontier of Borneo. FYI, the 5
core NGOs in Green SURF are amongst the largest, oldest and most
recognized conservation groups in Sabah and Malaysia - collectively
responsible for most of the conservation work in the nation, with
partnerships that span the world.

We have tried every avenue available to communicate to you the results
of our findings and to engage in discussion about the future of energy
for Sabah. After months of unsuccessful attempts to meet with you, I
can only conclude that you do not want to meet with us. This confuses
and disturbs me. Your words in public are about listening to the
rakyat (people) and hearing their views. A sizeable portion of the
rakyat of Sabah has been doing everything within their power to be
heard by you. To no avail. We have given you the benefit of the doubt
that word is not getting to you, and yet we have met with those around
you who promised they would convey our message to you. Many months,
memos, reports, letters, faxes, emails and phone calls later, and we
have not received a single response from you or any member of your
administration. We also did our best at state level government, and
have huge support from within the government but ultimately the
message is that this is untouchable because "ini Najib mau" (Najib
wants this).

Sir, my most consistent experience of your administration is stone
walls, arrogance and insincerity. I am shocked by the behavior of the
leadership of my nation. I find it patronizing, archaic, oppressive,
blatantly and self-righteously elitist and top-down. I do not
experience your administration as democratic, transparent, open,
accountable or responsible. There is a deep incongruence between what
you are projecting externally and what we have experienced internally.
I can only surmise that you intentionally run your administration in
this manner. Otherwise, it would mean that your leadership is
incompetent and ineffective.

I am angry, and I am not willing to accept systemic disempowerment of
our people. I am writing this open letter as a last resort. Sabahans
are speaking up because we are deeply troubled and scared about the
fate of our ecological and cultural legacy, and what we will be able
to hand down to our future generations. Please show true leadership
and listen. You and your administration have much to do to regain a
modicum of respect amongst many Sabahans. If 1Malaysia is more than a
PR campaign and is truly intended "to provide a free and open forum to
discuss the things that matter deeply to us as a Nation", please walk
your talk.

The coal plant will be built on the northern edge of Lahad Datu Bay.
Photo by: Cede Prudente.

The circle denotes the coal plant. Tabin Wildlife Reserve is to the
west, Semporna (Tun Sakaran Marine Park) is to the south. Map courtesy
of Green SURF.

Map shows Sabah's place in the coral triangle. Map courtesy of Green

Comments (1)

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forced to re-locate twice since it was conceived more than two years
ago. The 300-MW plant is now planned for a coastal area that is
situated in the middle of the Coral Triangle/Sulu Sulawesi Marine
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