Posted on January 26, 2011, WednesdayLIMBANG: Power tariffs for commercial and industrial use in Sarawak are relatively cheaper than those in Penang.
Besides that, the state government has absorbed the cost of domestic use for about 80,000 poor Sarawakians.
Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, who is also Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management, said this in response to allegations that power tariffs in the state were more expensive than in Semenanjung Malaysia.
“The government absorbed the cost of RM 9.6 million to enable between 70,000 to 80,000 people enjoy free electricity if their consumption was RM 20 or below monthly,” he said.
Awang Tengah also pointed out that the state’s vastness and scattered population is the biggest challenge in keeping costs low and the state’s average tariff per kilowatt-hour is cheaper although distribution cost is higher.
“In Sarawak, it is 26 sen per kw/h compared to 29 sen per kw/hr there and to say that the tariff is more expensive here is an allegation not based on facts,” he said.
He also slammed the opposition for twisting the facts on land premium in the state.
“It is between eight to 14 times cheaper than Penang,” he said.
He said this when met after presentation of land titles and compensation to villagers of Kampung Ipai and Kampung Telahak at Kampung Meritam in Limbang yesterday.
In his speech, he said the opposition ignored the fact that Sarawak’s land mass and scattered population is a big challenge in providing basic infrastructures and amenities to everyone.
“Although the federal government has allocated billions of Ringgit in funds under the NKRAs for Sarawak for 2010-2012, the big allocations are still not enough to provide the infrastructure to everyone overnight,” he said.
The Prime Minister has recently approved the allocation of more funds for Sarawak state assemblymen to meet the various needs peculiar to their respective state constituencies following a request from the state.
“The state is as large as Semenanjung Malaysia excluding the state of Malacca, and although the billions of Ringgit allocated under the NKRA for Sarawak, a considerably huge amount, it is still insufficient to meet the needs of everyone in one go,” he said.
On political stability, he said unity among the people is vital for continued development.
Tengah said states ruled by PR after the 2008 election were in disarray and failed to fulfil their election promises.
“They shout about RM100 for the elderly in Penang which is not much if you divide it by 12 months and try comparing it to the BN in trying to bring up the state, including sending our children for education all the way to university,” he said.
He described the new economic model which is encapsulated in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) to generate higher income as reflecting the direction of the BN government which focuses on development and progress.
“BN is about politics of development whereas the opposition’s brand of politics is about instigation,” he said.
He said that Sarawak is fortunate to have an experienced leader in Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud who maintains a good relationship with the federal government to tap into the full potential of her resources.
He warned that the opposition would come offering promises when election is around the corner while BN had delivered the goods.
“BN if returned to govern the state after next election does not promise that it can solve every issue but will work hard to resolve them,” he said.
Awang Tengah urged locals to be rational and not emotional over petty or personal issues of bread and butter during elections, saying unity among them is the most important factor for a bright future.
“Sarawak will continue to remain the bastion of BN which delivers while the opposition is only good at propaganda and politicking,” he said.