Sunday, March 14, 2010

Give us back control of power utility, says Sabah

The Sabah Progressive Party wants the federal government to return control of power utility company, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, (SESB) to the state.

Former Sabah Chief Minister Yong Teck Lee said that since the federal government has been addressing the crippling power shortage in the state with half measures, it was best they relinquished their hold the company.

"It would be better managed by the state in view of the fact that the Federal Government had failed to address the power woes in the state for more than three decades now," he said.

Speaking after attending the Sabah Chinese Writers Association’s Installation dinner he said that with SESB under the state government’s full control Sabah would be able to generate power as efficiently as neighbouring Sarawak.

Yong also criticised state cabinet minister Dr Yee Moh Chai over his call on Saturday to SESB managing director Baharin Din to step down.

The Resource Development and Information Technology Minister cum Api-Api State assemblyman was echoing the call made by Kalabakan MP, Ghapur Salleh, for Baharin to quit, over the utility company's purchase of second-hand equipment to boost supply to the east coast of the state.

Yong however contended that Yee should have directed his call to Dr Joseph Pairin Kitingan, as he is the minister concerned since SESB comes under the purview of the Infrastructure Development Ministry. Pairin, who is currently also a deputy chief minister, is also Yee's Parti Bersatu Sabah boss.

Yong who is also SAPP president explained that going by by political convention it was normal for backbenchers to call for the resignation of a minister, inside or outside the House.

It is improper for backbenchers or a minister to call for the resignation of a public officer or civil servant who is actually answerable to their respective minister-in-charge, he said.

On Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin's vow to quit if Sabah’s System Average Interruption Duration Index (Saidi) does not improve from 2780 minutes per subscriber to 700 minutes per subscriber by end of this year, Yong said it as an honourable gesture.

Yong however said SAPP felt that the responsibility for the perennial power supply issue should not fall on just SESB or some ministers but the whole government.

He said the Sabah BN government is now looking enviously at the efficiently managed State-owned Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (Sesco) as "they even have surplus to sell to Sabah in 2013.”

The Sabah government has a 20 per cent stake in the SESB while the majority is held by Tenaga Nasional Berhad under the Federal Government.

courtesy of FreeMalaysiaToday

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