Sunday, 16 November 2008

SAPP to table motion Monday

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) will table a motion to adjourn scheduled agenda of the State Legislative Assembly tomorrow (Monday) to debate on the proposed 500km RM1.5 billion Kimanis-Bintulu gas pipeline.

SAPP which pulled out of Barisan Nasional on Sept 17, 2008 now has two members seated in the Opposition side - Datuk Liew Teck Chan (Likas) and Melanie Chia (Luyang). Two others Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah (Tanjong Papat) and Au Kam Wah (Elopura) are still seated in the Government side as they had announced no longer in the SAPP's fold. They are reported to have submitted an application to register a new political party.

The following is reproduced from the SAPP's website, which explained why the party need to table the motion.

Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) - the ex-BN member in the opposition ranks since Sept 17 - wants to debate the proposed 500 km RM 1.5 billion Kimanis-Bintulu gas pipeline in the State Legislative Assembly sitting.

The party’s stand is based on the power of the state to deny access and transit through state land for the trans-shipment of Sabah’s gas resources.

The motion for the debate was moved under Standing Order No. 23 (1) of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly. It was handed to state speaker Juhar Mahiriddin by two Sapp members, Datuk Liew Teck Chan (Likas) and Melanie Chia (Luyang) last week.

Liew, who disclosed the motion for the debate, said that "there are many questions surrounding the proposed project".

"These need to be properly and satisfactorily answered as it involved public interest," said Liew who is also Sapp deputy president.

"Whatever natural resources belong to the state, including natural gas, should be utilised by the state.

"Why must we have our very own natural gas siphoned off all the way to Bintulu for processing? Why can’t we extract and process it locally for our own use?"asked Liew.

Liew said that the announcements by both the federal and state governments on the gas pipeline to Bintulu, the proposed petrochemical complex, oil refinery and a 300 MW gas-fired power plant in Kimanis, are less than convincing, "since they are a bundle of contradictions".

"Where are we going to get the excess gas for the gas power plant and the petrochemical complex in the state when all our natural gas will be shipped to Bintulu?" asked Liew." What happened to the prime minister’s May 31 pledge?"

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi pledged at a gathering of BN leaders in Kota Kinabalu on May 31 that the controversial project would be scrapped.

Petronas however, apparently advised by Abdullah’s nemesis and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, refused to go along with the lame duck premier’s directive.

It has started work unannounced on the gas landing facility in Kimanis. The outgoing Badawi was forced by waiting pressmen to admit defeat on the sidelines of the recent Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) annual meet without any apologies or explanations.

Petronas’s apparent recalcitrance has put Badawi in a spot with Sabahans and placed additional pressure on federal cabinet members from Sabah.

It had been reported that UPKO chief Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok "did not mince his words" at last Friday’s federal cabinet meeting.

However, he was persuaded to go along with the proposed gas pipeline project on the promise that Petronas would build a full-fledged petrochemical complex and oil refinery in Sabah.

He wrested additional concessions i.e. that only excess gas from Sabah would be shipped to Sarawak and the construction of the full-fledged petrochemical complex and oil refinery would be carried out simultaneously with the gas pipeline project.

One issue is whether Sabah or Sarawak comes first in the gas equation: Will surplus Sabah gas be used for Sabah or Sarawak. Sabahans think that only the surplus gas will be for Sabah and not the other way around.

This means Sarawak comes first despite Friday’s cabinet decision which stipulated only Sabah’s surplus will be directed to Sarawak.

Among others, Kalabakan MP (Umno) Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh continues to throw cold water on the cabinet decision.

Former Labuan MP (Umno) Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman is firmly against Sabah gas going to Sarawak, while PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) Sabah Chief Datuk Dr Jefffrey Kitingan sees the gas pipeline as "an act of sabotage of the Sabah economy and is tantamount to an act of bullying".
Sabah has long complained that it has nothing to show for its huge reserves of fast-depleting oil and gas reserves except for a methanol plant in Labuan which is a federally controlled territory.
Meanwhile, even non-oil states like Pahang, Johore, Kedah and Malacca have various oil and gas industry-related activities.

Besides the four non-oil states with various oil and gas industry-related activities, the oil states of Terengganu and Sarawak both have a wide range of activities utilising their hydrocarbon resources.

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