Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Parliament to debate coal power-Malaysiakini

Photo taken from Malaysia Kini

Joseph Sipalan
Jun 15, 10

(Taken from Malaysia Kini, to subscribe to Malaysia Kini, go to: www.malaysiakini.com)

Original Malaysia Kini article link

Anti-coal power coalition Green Surf has made inroads into Parliament, persuading speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia to set aside time to debate the controversial coal-powered plant in Sabah.

Pandikar (right) gave his word that MPs from both sides of the divide will get 30 minutes each to debate the issue, though the issue is only expected to be raised when debate ends on the 10th Malaysia Plan.

The group spoke to Pandikar in his chambers today, at a meeting arranged by Sapp's Tawau MP Chua Soon Bui.

Also present were her Sapp colleague and Sepanggar MP Eric Majimbun, Putatan MP Marcus Mojigoh of Sabah-based BN party Upko, DAP's Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew King Chew and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, and PKR's Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

“All I can do as speaker is to allow for this issue to be debated. Thirty minutes is a lot of time, and I hope the MPs who will speak on the issue will keep their focus on it,” Pandikar said told the group.

He advised the coalition to continue pushing its case through the relevant government channels, stressing that they should emphasise facts and figures and avoid using politically-tinged arguments.

At a press conference later, Green Surf member Cynthia Ong said the group acknowledges the need for more power in Sabah, but said the state and federal governments should look at the many renewable energy options available to the state.

“Our coalition commissioned a report from UC Berkley California, by one of the world's leading alternative energy experts. We have all the resources necessary to go renewable in Sabah... more than many places in the world,” she said.

“Sabah has been a regional leader in conservation, and we're trying to protect that. One of our biggest resources is eco-tourism, which is also something we're trying to protect.”

At the press conference, Nurul Izzah pointed out that the issue is one of the few that cuts across political lines, as it focuses on conserving a natural heritage that is important not only to Sabah but the nation.

Memo submitted

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz accepted a memorandum from the group on behalf of premier Najib Abdul Razak, and promised to raise the issue at the next cabinet meeting.

“I understand your sentiments and, as I said, I promise to bring this matter up and hope that something can be done. I also believe the reefs, the environment, once destroyed is lost forever,” he said.

We don't want to lose this heritage which belongs to the people of Malaysia.”

Copies of the memorandum were also presented to Natural Resource and Environment Minister Douglas Uggah Embas, the speaker and several Sabah MPs.

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