‘Unreasonable claimants’ depriving rakyat of electricity

File photo of transmission towers. Timely completion of critical electricity infrastructure projects are crucial to strengthen Sarawak’s power supply network.

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KUCHING, June 20: Sesco, the licensee of Sarawak Energy, is facing a major challenge to bring electricity to certain parts of the state because a relatively small group of land claimants are making excessive demands.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Utilities yesterday, in addition to staking their claims on state land, these claimants often demanded to be compensated in excess of rates that the majority of affected land claimants had agreed to.

“These groups of unreasonable claimants illegally deny project teams access, especially into sites on state land, to complete key infrastructure projects. These have led to unacceptable delays in completing projects crucial for the long-term benefit of Sarawak,” the ministry said.

It added that while mutual consultation, negotiation and appeal had always been the preferred option to amicably resolve disputes or disagreements, the ministry and Sarawak Energy would have no other option but to use legal recourse as a last resort when parties continued to disagree and the greater interest of the state and the rakyat were jeopardised.

File photo of a substation in Kuching. Timely completion of critical electricity infrastructure projects are crucial to strengthen Sarawak’s power supply network for the benefit of the rakyat.

“The Ministry of Utilities appeals for the understanding and cooperation from affected land claimants for the successful implementation of these projects to strengthen the state’s electricity supply network system that will eventually benefit the rakyat,” it said, adding that compensation was normally paid according to standard rates.

It stressed that in the interest of transparency, consultation and engagement with affected land claimants were often conducted in the presence of personnel from key government agencies.

The ministry reiterated that Sarawak’s rapid development had led to a tremendous growth in energy demand, where future demand is anticipated to rise to about 5,500MW by 2020.

“The state government, through the Ministry of Utilities, has entrusted Sarawak Energy Berhad with the responsibility of delivering a stable and secure power supply system.” — DayakDaily