KUALA LUMPUR – September 25, 2019: After a recent controversy in Merlimau, Melaka, the land-rich Sime Darby Plantantion Bhd (SDP) faces yet another contentious land grab attempt.
This time, the land grab was said to likely destroy the ecosystem of the company’s world-renowned plantation island of Carey Island near Port Klang.
According to sources, the land acquisition will be made to accommodate the development of a 1000-1200 MW combined cycle gas and turbine power plant on nearby Pulau Indah.
The project is helmed by Tadmax Resources Bhd.
One of the sources said Tadmax had decided to lay down the main power cable and gas pipes from the mainland to the power plant across the plantation island instead of going around its perimeter.
“The decision was made to reduce cost but at the expense of the island’s ecosystem and landscape,” he said.
Another source said approximately 225 acres of land will be taken from SDP, which is not much considering the size of the island but the problem is that the takeover will divide the island into two.
“What they (Tadmax) are going to build on the acquired land are gas piping and power lines which means that even after the installation works, the island won’t be like how it was before,” he said.
Also questionable is the maintenance aspect of the power cable and gas pipes. The source explained to The Mole that most of the geographically flat island is technically at below sea level, meaning that careful monitoring must be done to ensure that water is pumped out of the island should seawater comes flooding in, especially during high tide.
“This process is done time and time again since most part of the plantations on the island cannot survive without it. Should the island be separated into two, will Tadmax be partly responsible for the maintenance of the island?” asked the source.
Attempts to get comments on the matter from SDP and Tadmax were not successful.
Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that Kua Kia Soong of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has insisted that Malaysia has no need for any new power plant.
Kua was quoted as saying that the country is producing way more power than it needs.
“Our reserve margin or generation capacity above peak demand, was 36 per cent in Peninsular Malaysia. It was the same with the Bakun Dam, which had an installed capacity of 2,400MW when the total electricity demand for Sarawak during the 1970s was just 1,000MW. The World Bank has recommended reserve margins of not more than 10 per cent,” he said.
Kua also lamented the policy of recruiting independent power producers (IPP) which he claimed to be a failure and questioned the current government’s stance and its promise of ‘clean new energy’.
“So what has changed in “New Malaysia”? And what sort of “clean new energy” is this coal-fired plants going to produce? How much haze is the Pakatan Harapan government going to contribute to our Malaysian air?
“In terms of unit cost, the electricity which these IPPs produce is more expensive, thus, it looks as if those in power are more interested in making mega bucks out of these mega projects rather than having a responsible and sustainable energy policy and plan,” he said.