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Worthwhile to rescue geothermal project: Max
Published on: Sunday, December 09, 2018

Sabah: Former Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the new Pakatan Harapan Government should look at how the country's first geothermal power plant project in Tawau – that was found abandoned recently – can be rescued.He said it would not only put Malaysia on the world renewal energy map but also the benefit the people.

Maximus denied that the project, which received a grant of RM35 million from the Federal Government and saw a vast area of virgin timber being cleared but with nothing to show, was approved by him but by his predecessor.

"It was a private project approved during Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui's time as KeTTHA Minister and received a facilitation fund from the government to help get the feeding tariff.

"Even personally, I am also disappointed. I think the developer ran out of capital investment," he said.

Ongkili said the developer had said that they finished up to drilling and had to stop work.

"I think the Ministry concerned should know what should be done on this matter. It is sad. I supported the project because it was going to be the first in Malaysia. And had it gone into operation in 2017, it would be number 16 in the world for geothermal power plant, which is good clean energy.

"That is why I think the developer may have financial constraint problem. I think the new Government should look at the whole project and how it can be rescued. Because it is private sector money, not using the government money."

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Yeo Bee Yin, had earlier said in the Parliament that the geothermal power plant project concerned which should have been operational by December 31, 2017, had been scrapped.

Yeo had said the project site was found abandoned and overgrown with weeds. Based on her visit to the project site which was implemented on July 2 2015, the plant was found not showing any progress.

"For example, drilling stopped in the third quarter of 2016 and slim hole had been closed...all cabins and drilling equipment are no longer at the site, no workers were found there and the area is covered with overgrowth," said Yeo.

Sabah DAP MP Chan Foong Hin said Sipitang MP Yamani Hafez Musa should be held responsible for the project's failure as he was the majority shareholder. - Larry Ralon



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