Sarawak Pakatan chief opposes sale of hydropower to peninsula, Singapore

Desmond Davidson

Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chair Chong Chieng Jen objects to the proposed sale of 1,000MW hydroelectric to Singapore or Peninsular Malaysia. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 22, 2023.

SARAWAK Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen has voiced strong opposition to the proposed sale of 1,000MW of hydro-generated electricity to Singapore or Peninsular Malaysia.

The Padungan assemblyman gave two reasons for objecting to the sale.

The first, he told the Sarawak legislative assembly when debating on the 2024 state budget, was that the sale would leave the state with a “not so comfortable” electricity reserve margin, and the second is that it would create “clean energy” competitors for Sarawak industries.

Referring to disclosed figures, Chong said by 2028, the state’s electricity generation capacity would be 8,240MW, while demand would reach 6,460MW.

“With that ratio of power generation and demand, how will Sarawak be able to supply the 1,000MW outside Sarawak given that we must also maintain a reserve margin?” he asked.

He said the reserve margin recommended by the International Energy Agency is 20-35%.

Chong said if Sarawak does decide to sell the 1,000MW to Singapore or the peninsula, then the state will not have a comfortable electricity reserve margin and without that margin, the state will experience “more interruptions to its electricity supply”.

What was more important, he said, is that the proposed sale would make industries in Singapore and the peninsular stiff competitors to local Sarawak industries.

“We are selling clean energy (to Singapore and the peninsular) and clean energy is now a very valuable and important commodity to a lot of industries (worldwide).”

Chong said companies and industries that use clean energy could therefore get clean energy certificates for their products.

He proposed that state power company Sarawak Electricity Bhd (SEB) instead only supply the clean energy to local industries and issue a clean energy certificate to industries who are in the export business.

That, he added, would make their products more competitive and fetch higher prices rather than create competition. – November 22, 2023.

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