Letter to the Editor: A bold step in preserving Sabah’s Treasures | WWF Malaysia

Letter to the Editor: A bold step in preserving Sabah’s Treasures

Posted on 04 April 2008
The decision by the Sabah state government to scrap the RM1.3 billion coal plant in Silam has been welcomed by WWF-Malaysia. In doing so, state planners have shown vision and acumen in discerning the environmental fallouts posed by coal-fired power plants.

But such vision went further, as neatly expressed by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman: “We need to look for more environmentally friendly sources of energy.” The chief minister’s call for cleaner sources of energy cannot be understated.

WWF-Malaysia couldn’t agree more. Sustainable development is an imperative in today’s world, and should balance ecological sensitivities with human development.

The proposed plant in Silam did not fit into the category of sustainable development. It was to be located close to the renowned Danum Valley, Darvel Bay and Ulu Segama ecosystems. These should be left in their pristine conditions although sadly, they collectively form the shrinking vestiges of an even larger natural wonder that once stretched all across Sabah. From the coral cradle of Darvel Bay to the verdant wonder of Danum Valley, we are fortunate yet to have these natural patches left intact. These in turn power another source of revenue generation: sustainable eco-tourism.

Building a coal plant next to Darvel Bay would have been too risky, especially since the deep sea area at Darvel Bay was identified as the water source for the plant’s cooling system. Temperature fluctuations affect coral life, and without coral life, our fish stocks will be further depleted. So would the livelihood of fishermen in Sabah and the neighboring Philippines islands.

That is why WWF-Malaysia had raised objections to the Silam plant project, and we felicitate the state government for its decisive action over this matter.

The scraping of this project however will not negate the need for additional power sources in the future. The key lies in utilizing more environmentally friendly sources of energy.

From: Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma, Executive Director/CEO, WWF-Malaysia

For further information, please contact:
Mr Mathew Maavak, Media and Public Affairs Consultant, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603 7803 3772 ext 6103, Email: mmathew@wwf.org.my