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Sabah Govt Needs to be Assertive in SESB

Kota Kinabalu:    “The Sabahgovernment needs to act as the government of the people in Sabah and be assertive in SESB.   As shown in the aftermath of the state-wide fiasco affecting 511,611 consumers, the government cannot and should no longer play a passive role on its 20% shareholding in SESB” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in response to SESB’s excuse for the blackout and refusal to compensate the Sabah and Labuan consumers.
It is totally irresponsible for SESB to push the blame for the blackout to its IPP supplier who had given an unacceptable and “couldn’t care less attitude” for Sabah and Labuan consumers when it shut down its 4 turbines to prevent potential damage.  

Based on this reason, the blackout was intentionally caused and the IPP should be made to pay for the blackout and SESB should not avoid its responsibility to its consumers in Sabah.   Massive losses not counting inconveniences were caused by the blackout.

“Will SESB accept the situation where all the Sabah consumers avoid its responsibility and refuse to pay its bills to SESB” asked Dr. Jeffrey.

The bare minimum that SESB can offer its long-suffering consumers is the revocation of the 16.9% tariff hike and a further discount to compensate for the losses of the consumers.

It is unacceptable for SESB to deny liability and blame the IPP concerned and at the same time give the excuse it has no money to pay compensation or that it is losing money.   If it is a losing concern, give back to the Sabah government.

The board of directors and its senior management of SESB should start work on a full plan to provide electrification for the whole of Sabah.   After 50 years in Malaysia, Sabahans have waited long enough and have suffered enough.   They should also work out a compensation package for consumers in Sabah and Labuan and submit both plans to their bosses in Kuala Lumpur for the money to be sent to Sabah.

If it needs RM4 billion to achieve a SAIDI of 60 minutes like in the Peninsula, then SESB must ask for it to be done.   Even if it costs RM14 billion to achieve full electrification for the whole of Sabah, then demand that the RM14 billion be given.    Sabah deserves this RM4 billion or RM14 billion allocation.

Sabah is not an appendage to the Peninsula.   Sabah is not in the Federation of Malaysia as a passenger living on the revenues of other States.   In 2014, Sabah will be contributing RM26.6 billion in oil revenue, only Sarawak will be contributing more.   In 2015/2016, Sabah’s contribution will be more than RM50 billion.

If the Sarawak government is able to manage its own power supply and without increasing tariffs for 2014, there is no reason why the Sabah government cannot do it.   Or is it the Sabah government is so useless and lazy or incapable?

The Sabah government should not just sit and listen to SESB make its presentation of excuses and denials of responsibility.  The government has a 20% stake in SESB.

It is high time for the Sabah government to sit up and play an assertive role in SESB, not as a passenger, and ensure SESB fulfil its obligations to provide cheap and available electricity without interruption throughout the whole of Sabah within the shortest span of time.  The Sabah government owes the people of Sabah this responsibility.

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