Light up our own backyard first before selling power to others, state govt told

Sai Malaka

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KAPIT, June 19: The Sarawak government should put more focus on developing rural and remote areas of Sarawak rather than thinking of selling electricity to other countries.

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) treasurer-general Sai Malaka said, for instance, 60 per cent of Katibas have yet to enjoy 24-hour electricity supply.

“Katibas is in dire straits to have electricity. A lot of places like Sg Rejang, Sg Song, Sg Iran, Sg Lajan and Sg Katibas in Song are still using generators and candle light.

“Are we neglecting them because they stay in the interior? The state government led by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) needs to fulfil its promises to the rural community,” he added.

PBDSB, he stressed, was seriously concerned about the well being of the Dayaks in the interior and hoped the government would ensure balanced socio-economic development throughout the state.

Two days ago, it was reported that the state government, through its state-owned power utility, Sarawak Energy Berhad, was eyeing the potential sale of additional electricity to Indonesia.

This follows recent reports that the Indonesian capital might be shifted to West Kalimantan from Jakarta.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state was currently progressing on the Borneo Grid initiative, with the first interconnection to West Kalimantan having already being established.

With the expertise and engineering skills of SEB, he believed Sarawak could work with Indonesia.

SEB is also negotiating with Sabah and Brunei on power exchange agreements.

Out of this year’s state budget totalling RM11.9 billion, Abang Johari emphasised that RM2.7 billion was for rural development to be undertaken by SEB under the rural electrification initiative. — DayakDaily