KOTA KINABALU (18th Feb 2011): Malaysia has received a pat on the back from the international community for its decision to call off using coal for energy in Sabah, a move that will open doors to clean power options in the state.
“This is a turning point that should bring deserved praise and partnerships to Malaysia at the upcoming climate conference in Durban, South Africa.
“I am truly thrilled by the efforts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and for their leadership in directing the course of the nation and state towards a diverse mixture of energy resources.
“This will help stabilize energy costs, bring new entrepreneurs into the energy field, create job growth, and cut local environmental impact and global greenhouse gas emissions growth,” Kammen said.
Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) had commissioned Kammen to prepare an energy options report for Sabah, in his capacity as Professor of Energy at the University of California in Berkeley.
“Energy and environmental victories often do not get the attention that negative events do, but here is a case where a collaborative set of environmental groups led by Green SURF worked with elected officials to create dialogue with the public, and to bring critically needed technical materials such as the energy options report we produced to decision makers.
"I am thrilled to have been able to work with the people of Sabah on this victory, and look forward to watching the international community learn from Sabah’s triumph of planning and partnership,” he said.
World Land Trust Chief Executive Officer and Founder, John Burton, congratulated the Government on making a rational decision that will have major benefits for all.
“It is good that they listened to public opinion, and shows a genuine commitment to the environment,” Burton said.
Lauding the Government’s decision, 350.org Malaysia’s South East Asia Field Coordinator Abe Woo said the move has chartered a new course in history of environmental movement and energy management.
“This signals a positive and responsive government as the whole international network of 350.org continues to support bold moves by the present government in combating climate change,” Woo said.
Jamie Henn, 350.org Communications Director described it as a “victory that’s felt all around the world.”
350.org is an international movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis.
Environmental campaigner Roz Savage shared the State Government’s statement through Twitter, adding that she was honoured and proud to have been part of the campaign calling for the project to be canned. Savage was the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean and was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2010.
Sabah born Yee I-Lann artist and creator of the “Postcards2PM” project which saw thousands signing postcards that were sent to Najib, hoped that the authorities including Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd will engage with environmentalists in providing sound solutions.
“I hope the authorities will keep environmental protection at the forefront of all development,” Yee said.
Green SURF also received a number of reactions at its blog site, with readers giving the thumbs up to the government, happy that their voices were heard.
Wednesday’s announcement by Musa that no coal plant will be constructed in Sabah came as a welcome surprise, following months of silence by the authorities after the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment study for a site in Lahad Datu was rejected in August last year.