KOTA KINABALU August 4, 2011: Member of Parliament for Sepanggar Datuk Eric Majimbun has expressed concern that the increase in electricity tariff will have adverse effect on the state’s economy, saying it could discourage investors from choosing Sabah to start their business.
The social impact on the people will be great, he said.
Eric, who is also Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president, said he has met a few investors who informed him that they will relocate their business out of Sabah by the end of the year because they are not happy with the electricity tariff hike.
He contended that all the Government’s effort to attract investors will go down the drain.
“What is the point of spending lots of money to build the infrastructure in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) to attract more investors when they are discouraged by the high electricity tariff?” he asked.
According to Eric, SAPP has conducted a comparative study and found that the revised electricity tariff in Sabah is 10 per cent higher than Sarawak.
“We have very little competitive edge over our surrounding neighbours. In the past, electricity was one major factor to maintain our edge in keeping the industries in Sabah but now we see whatever little edge we have is eroded,” he said.
“Do you think new industries are interested to come to Sabah again? Will existing industries prefer to remain in Sabah? It is our opinion that the new tariff will be catastrophic to the industries in Sabah,” he said.
Eric said the increased tariff will have a ripple effect that will definitely hurt the end users, meaning the consumers.
“I am sad to say that this situation could be tantamount to the doom of Sabah’s economy,” he said, adding that in the economic sense, every unit of energy translated into real GDP which reflects the economic health of the country.
SESB must review its tariff through whatever means so that the state and people are not burdened by the increased expenses incurred, he said.
Eric said he doubted SESB’s reasons for increasing the tariff as the utility company, as far as SAPP knows, is making profit.
According to Eric, consumers are being burdened by the amount of electricity lost as a result of power thieves, as they are indirectly paying for this.
“The Federal Government is ignoring the rakyat and the necessity for Sabahans as it did not conduct a survey in the state before allowing SESB to increase its tariff,” he said.