Friday, March 12, 2010

Sabah MP wants power utility boss sacked

Power utility, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, a lightning rod for criticism from consumers around the state, has come under renewed pressure to shape up or ship out.

The latest call came from Kalabakan MP Ghapur Salleh who lashed out at SESB's top management for its arrogant attitude.

Ghapur made the call after SESB managing director Baharin Din defended the utility company's purchase of second-hand equipment to boost supply to the east coast of the state.

An angry Ghapur said in a press statement: "This irresponsible attitude has caused much suffering and inconvenience to the people of Sabah. Does he think Sabahans are second-class citizens who deserve only second-class services?

"Is he not aware that Malaysians in Sabah and the business community pay for services with the same ringgit?

"How could SESB justify its action of promptly disconnecting supply to defaulters when it can't even provide consistent supply of electricity to its customers?

"What kind of commercial services is SESB running? This is purely a Third World mentality," he said.Ghapur urged the state and federal government leaders to be firm with arrogrant officers like Baharin.

"We Malaysians in Sabah want officers like him to eliminate the problem, and not minimise it by employing ad hoc measures such as using second-hand engines.

"I remember at one briefing he assured all those present that once the new engines are installed, power supply shortage will be over."

More power outages

However, the engines brought in earlier this month turned out to be second-hand ones. Some have broken down while the others are working fitfully. According to an engineer, none of the engines was designed or built to operate around the clock.

However, Baharin said the mobile electricity generator sets have helped boost electricity supply to the east coast of Sabah.

"It's not a question of whether the engines are new or old. As long as they are functioning, it should not be an issue," he said at a press briefing here to promote energy efficiency.

SESB has commissioned 32 generators to supply 40 megawatts of power to the electricity-starved east coast. Seventeen units are based in Tawau and 15 in Sandakan.

Baharin said all the generators were functioning well so far and had reduced power disruptions in Sanadakan by 81.6% and 87.3% in Tawau last month.

However, engineers who have seen the state of the second-hand generators, say that it is only a matter of time before they break down and the districts suffer more power outages.

- By FMT staff

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