LAHAD DATU, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- Since decades, thousands of residents in the east coast of Sabah have experienced frequent power disruption.
The situation has affected the business community and caused inconvenience to customers so much so the utility has come under flak recently because of frequent power outages in the area.
But in four years, their predicament will probably be a thing of the past, thanks to Petronas which will establish a liquefied natural gas re-gasification terminal and a new 300MW power plant in Lahad Datu.
The whopping RM2.2 billion Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal and power plant is scheduled for completion in 2015 and will not only light up the lives of the residents who will enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply but also meet the spiralling power demand created by enhanced economic activities in Sabah.
"For decades, we have endured a very challenging life with frequent power disruptions. It never crossed my mind that one day our area, especially in Lahad Datu, will have better electricity supply.
"We have waited for this for decades, thanks to Petronas and thanks to the 1Malaysia National Key Result Area initiative taken by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak," said Darvel Lahad Datu Club Chairman Ahmad Syawal in an interview with Bernama.
He said the proposed gas terminal and the power plant would surely generate significant direct and indirect economic spin-offs including new employment and business development opportunities.
"It will not only benefit the people of Lahad Datu but also those in Tawau, Semporna, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.
"There will be more job opportunities for our people here once construction of the terminal begins," he said.
In this respect, Ahmad hoped Petronas would speed up the implementation of the gas terminal designed to feed natural gas to the proposed power plant.
He said with a steady supply of electricity, it would help boost the state government's Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) project in Lahad Datu, particularly biomass factories.
"I believe with good infrastructure facilities like water and electricity, more investors would invest in POIC hence creating more employment opportunities for locals," he said, urging them to take advantage of this golden opportunity.
Meanwhile, Aslinda Kamba, 26, from Taman Perdana Lahad Datu, described the Petronas' proposal to set up a gas terminal as timely and appropriate.
She said at the moment, the locals were dependent on jobs available in palm oil plantations.
"I hope with the availability of the gas terminal it will create more jobs in the oil and gas industry. We certainly welcome Petronas' involvement in boosting power supply here and, as an established national oil company, we are confident Petronas will deliver the goods," she said.