KOTA KINABALU, 23 June 2009: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has taken its former deputy president cum State Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah to task, for claiming credit on the cancellation of the construction of coal-fired power plant in Sandakan, describing it as disgusting and a gross insult to the people of Sandakan.
"What moral right has he got to try to claim credit now when all these while he has been conspicuously quiet on the issue, except for all the empty talks about forming a new political party but eventually ended up in joining Parti Gerakan.
"Even then he failed to keep his coveted Deputy Chief Minister's post besides being demoted from a more important portfolio of the Infrastructure Development Minister's post to a less important portfolio of the Industrial Development Minister's post," slammed SAPP Vice President, Poon Kee Yang in a statement issued here today.
He was responding to a statement made by Tan in a local Chinese dailies yesterday, claiming that the government has heard the grouses of the Sandakan folks and has decided to cancel the sitting of the controversial project in Sandakan.
He contended that the cancellation of the sitting of the said project was largely due to strong objection of the Sandakan folks, with the support of SAPP and NGOs like the Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
"Both he (Tan) and the Elopura Assemblyman Au Kam Wah were nowhere to be seen during the various public protests organized by the 'pressure group'," Poon noted.
He continued that there is nothing much for Tan to shout about because although such a power plant would not be built in Sandakan now, there are speculations that it would be built somewhere in Lahad Datu, probably at Felda area.
The project was initially proposed to be sited at Silam, Lahad Datu but was later cancelled by the State government following a strong protest from the residents there. In announcing the scrapping of the project, the Chief Minister Datuk Musa Hj Aman even cited environmental and public health concerns as the main reasons behind the cancellation. However, it was later announced that the project will be sited in Seguntor, Sandakan.
Poon also challenged Au who is also the Sabah Energy Corporation (SEC) Chairman make good use of his position to convince the State government to instead opt for gas-fired power plant which is much cheaper, cleaner, efficient and readily-available in the state.
"Failing which, it's only honorable that he steps down as SEC Chairman as, if not for the support of the people, he is just nobody," he said.
He also called on the State government to give a satisfactory explanation on why the state is unwilling to fully utilize the natural gas found in the state but rather have it siphoned-off to the neighbouring state for processing before exporting it to another country.
He fervently maintained that SAPP would continue to object to the construction of coal-fired power plant anywhere in the state, citing its harmful impact on human and environment.