Electricity and Gas was under the State pre-Malaysia. When Malaysia was formed both Electricity and Gas were placed in the Federal List. However, under Article 95C of the Federal onstitution, the Borneo States (Legislative Power) Order, 1963 delegated the legislative power back to the State to maintain the status quo of Sabah and Sarawak’s existing legislative power over electricity and gas.
This was revoked in 1983 by the same Article 95C when SESB was taken over by the Federal by an Act of Parliament, the Sabah Electricity Board (SEB) Act 1983. SEB was put under the purview of the Ministry of Energy, Post and Telecommunication.
Fifteen years later the Federal Government decided to privatise SEB to become Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Ministry of Finance Incorporated and the Sabah government as the shareholders.
As we embark on this groundbreaking journey towards regulatory autonomy, it is essential to recognise that this is not about severing ties or creating division.
Instead, it is a transformative step towards empowering Sabah to take control of its energy destiny, making decisions that align with our unique circumstances and aspirations.
I believe that having the power to make energy decisions is crucial for our state’s development.
It allows us to shape energy policies that cater to our needs and aspirations, ensuring stable energy for our people in the future.
For decades, Sabah’s electricity supply was under the purview of the Natural Resources Energy and Climate Change (NRECC) of the Federal Government and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), regulated under the Energy Commission of Malaysia (EC), limiting our autonomy in managing energy resources and determining tariffs.
But now, we are actively advocating for greater control over our electricity supply by January 2024 under the direct governance of the Sabah government through the regulatory mechanism of the Energy Commission of Sabah (ECoS), aligning with our vision for a more empowered Sabah.
The challenge for the Sabah government is to lay coherent policies to drive the electricity supply industry. Does the Chief Minister’s Department (CMD) and the Economic Planning Unit of the CMD have the administrative strength to match that of NRECC of the Federal Government?
One key area where we seek autonomy is in setting electricity tariffs.
By having regulatory authority over tariffs, we can create pricing structures that balance affordability for consumers and sustainable revenue for energy providers.
This approach fosters equitable access to electricity, promoting economic growth while considering the welfare of our citizens.
Additionally, I recognise the immense potential of renewable energy in Sabah. A greener and more resilient energy landscape can be built with abundant natural resources such as Hydro, Solar, and Biomass energy.
Under the centralised system, our renewable energy development may have been constrained.
However, with greater autonomy, our energy potential can unleash and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, contributing to a more sustainable future.
While the effort for regulatory autonomy is met with challenges, I understand the need for constructive engagement with the Federal Government.
Finding common ground and collaborating is essential to strike a balance between state autonomy and national interests.
To achieve this vision, the State Government is introducing bills on Electricity Supply and Renewable Energy Enactments, along with an amendment to the Sabah Energy Commission Enactment 2023.
Thus, we seek concurrence from ministries and relevant agencies, ensuring a smooth transition to our new energy paradigm.
During a recent meeting, the Sabah Generation Development Plan (2023-2027) was endorsed.
The plan outlines strategies to enhance power generation capacity, tapping into hydropower and renewable energy sources.
This underscores the importance of strategic planning and collaboration to secure Sabah’s energy future.
Industry experts and stakeholders have expressed their support, acknowledging Sabah’s unique energy landscape and our potential to lead in renewable energy.
This push is a positive step towards a more dynamic and responsive energy sector, strengthening our state’s energy capabilities.
In conclusion, our push for regulatory autonomy marks a historic milestone for Sabah.
I embrace this transformative journey with collective determination and a vision for self-sustainability.
Empowering Sabah is not just about power; it represents the power to shape our destiny and build a brighter future for generations.
As we work diligently towards securing our rights to electricity and charting a path of energy autonomy, let us continue to engage in open dialogue, bridge gaps, and foster cooperation between state and federal entities.
With unity and perseverance, you and I can overcome challenges and propel Sabah into a new era of self-sufficiency and prosperity.
Together, we will ensure that the people of Sabah have the energy they need for a vibrant and thriving future.
Source : Daily Express