Article taken from The Star Online
Sunday July 18, 2010
KOTA KINABALU: Some 400 people comprising villagers and folks from the east coast’s Lahad Datu district have voiced their opposition against a proposed 300MW coal-fired power plant.
In the one-hour gathering at the project site in Kampung Sinakut, some 60km from Lahad Datu town, the group held up banners to protest against the plant, which they said would have adverse effects on the environment.
The group included 200 people from Lahad Datu and a similar number from the seaside village of Kampung Sinakut.
“We will be first ones to feel any adverse environmental impact from this plant. That is why we are saying no,” said the group’s spokesman Vincent Ng.
He said Lahad Datu folks had also voiced their objections against the plant when giving their feedback on the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report.
The demonstration was held even as officials from Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Lahad Datu Energy Sdn Bhd gave a briefing at a public forum in Kota Kinabalu.
Apart from assuring that the plant’s operations would have minimal impact on the environment, they said the coal would be mined in an area in Kalimantan, Indonesia, that would be replanted with trees.
“The coal for this power plant will not be from any Tom, Dick or Harry,” said TNB Fuel Services Sdn Bhd general manager for operations Zainal Abidin Shah Mahmood.
To a question, Zainal Abidin declined to say who was the owner of the coal mine in question, adding that this was a business issue.
Green Surf, a coalition of concerned groups including WWF Malaysia and the Sabah Environmental Protection Association, has objected to the plant.
Environmental groups also pointed out that the plant could have an adverse impact on the environmentally-sensitive Tabin Wildlife Reserve and the Coral Triangle, which Malaysia has pledged to protect.