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KUCHING, June 27: Sarawak Energy is resuming construction of the long overdue new Miri Town Indoor 33kV Substation following the clearing of the illegal blockade at the construction site today.
All actions carried out were in accordance to the law, said the energy provider in a statement today.
A site entry operation involving personnel from various relevant departments and agencies — Sarawak Energy and its operations arm Syarikat SESCO Berhad, State Security and Enforcement Unit, Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) of the Ministry of Utilities, the Police, General Operation Force and Land and Survey Department — was carried out after securing an injunction order from court.
The mandatory injunction order prohibits any obstruction to the commencement of works for the Miri Town Substation extension project.
The site entry operation was coordinated by the State Security and Enforcement Unit and led by EIU of the Ministry of Utilities. It took place at around 6am today beginning with personnel from the Land and Survey Department removing an illegal temporary structure situated on state land. Sarawak Energy’s contractor then proceeded with clearing works to resume construction of the substation.
Sarawak Energy said the new substation is an extension of the existing Miri Town substation and is critical for the reinforcement and stabilising of the supply system of Miri’s central district and surrounding areas.
The project is part of Sarawak Energy’s RM1 billion investment in the Miri Power Supply Reinforcement Plan to upgrade the supply system to meet rapid expansion and rising electricity demand of the people of Miri.
Land claimants illegally denying access to the project site have severely delayed the project, compromising the reliability of Miri’s electricity supply and increasing the city’s risk of outages, the power provider said.
Construction came to a standstill in 2017 when the claimants started staking their claims on Canada Hill and obstructed access to the project team. The project was targeted for commissioning in August 2018. The blockade has delayed the completion of the indoor substation and resulted in cost over-runs.
The facility is expected to benefit the larger part of the Miri community, and the prolonged unlawful obstruction has denied Mirians residing in or operating from the city’s central business district and its surrounding areas a more reliable supply system.
Previously, the group of claimants had also obstructed the duties of the operations team, denying access into the existing substation to perform maintenance work. On one occasion, the obstruction delayed restoration of supply during a power outage because the group had illegally padlocked the substation gates.
Sarawak Energy said it worked with the assistance of and support from relevant authorities to reach out to the land claimants on several occasions to explain the criticality of the substation to ensure supply reliability to the people of Miri.
“Sarawak Energy respects the rights of individuals and organisations to express themselves in a lawful manner that does not deny the larger community the right to reliable supply as well as jeopardise the safe operations of its facilities and the safety of its personnel who are carrying out their duties,” said the energy provider. — DayakDaily