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Thursday, June 30, 2011

SAPP questions secrecy in gas pipeline project

Eric Majimbun says the cost may have ballooned and wonders why Najib is not giving detailed information

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has accused the government of being secretive about the Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline project.

Referring to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s recent written reply to questions he posed in Parliament, SAPP deputy president Eric Majimbun noted that he avoided mentioning how much the project would cost.

“Initially, the government said the allocation for the project was RM3.2 billion, but I’ve been made to understand that this has increased by many times,” he said.

Najib disclosed that 81% of the 521-kilometre pipeline had been completed, with close to 62% of allocations from Petronas spent. He also said it would be operational in 2013.

“However, the prime minister did not mention the actual amount of the allocations,” said Majimbun, who is the MP for Sepanggar.

The pipeline will transport gas found in Sabah from the Petronas terminal in Kimanis all the way to Bintulu for processing into liquefied natural gas, which will be exported.

Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline project

Majimbun said the mega project would deny the right of Sabahans to natural resources produced in their state.

Several other groups have criticised the project as unfair to Sabah. It has already caused an international manufacturer of solar glass panels to cancel a RM5.3 billion investment in the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park, citing fears that the state would not be able to meet its demand for natural gas to power its operations.

Majimbun said it was embarrassing that Sabah, despite being rich in oil, gas and other natural resources, was the poorest state in Malaysia. He attributed this to “decades of plunder and squander” by the Barisan Nasional government.

“BN has ruled the state for close to 50 years, but it has failed to safeguard the interest of Sabahans,” he said. “It has spent almost five decades focussing on its cronies and supporters.

“Sabah is a fine example of gross mismanagement by the BN coalition.”

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