Who is in the wrong that the country has no long-term plan to meet its power needs – Ani Arope, Samy Vellu or both?

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, March 16, 1993:

Who is in the wrong that the country has no long-term plan to meet its power needs – Ani Arope, Samy Vellu or both?

Two days ago, the Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, said that he was unhappy with Tenaga Nasional Bhd. for its lack of plans to meet the country’s long-term power needs.

He said rapid industrial growth would increase demand for at least another 4,000 MW over the next four years while Tenaga Na¬sianal’s supply was good only for the short-term needs and to overcome the power shortage. He then issued a call to Tenaga management to ‘pull up its sock and get down to work.’

Tenaga Nasional Bhd. executive chairman, Datuk Dr. Ani Arope, however disagreed with the Minister declaring yesterday that “People are entitled to their own opinions… It is their prerogative.”

He said TNB had drawn tip a five-year plan starting this year to meet the country’s power needs, especially those in the indus¬trial sector.

He said the corporation had already worked out a margin of power supply tip to 1997 to ensure investment would not be slowed down by any more power interruption.

The country must be perplexed by this open disagreement between the Minister in charge of energy and the monopoly corporation on energy.

The question on whether the country has any long-term plan to meet its power need is a very important question especially after the three-day nation-wide power black-out from September 29 last year and the current national energy crisis, and the people are entitled to know who is wrong: Ani Arope, Samy Vellu or both!

Tan Sri Ani Arope’s assurances that Tenaga Nasianal Bhd has a five-year plan to meet the country’s power needs would have more credibility if not for the nation-wide power black-out last September and the current national energy crisis. It is significant that up to now, the authorities have not dared to make public the report of the consultants inquiring into last September’s nation-wide blackout.

Datuk Samy Vellu’s credibility is also not very high at present, particularly when it is borne in mind that he had been the Minister in charge of the energy portforlio in the past five years.

In fact, in August 1991, Samy Vellu announced that he was heading a special task force formed by his Ministry to look into the short and long-term energy needs of the country, and which would devise ‘step-by-step’ plans and strategies for the next five years for the increasing demand for energy.

Samv Vellu had announced that this task force would also comprise his deputy minister, the ministry’s secretary-general, director-general of the Department of Electricity, managing director of Tenaga Nasional Bhd and its six general managers.

Clearly, if this Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and Posts task force headed by Samy Vellu had discharged its duties compe¬tently, there would have been no nation-wide power blackout last September nor the national energy crisis from January this year.

Samy Vellu had announced then that his task force would submit quarterly reports to the Cabinet on the energy situation and plan in the country. This means that his task force should have submitted at least five quarterly reports to the Cabinet by now.

Can Samy Vellu tell whether his task force had submitted a single quarterly report to the Cabinet? How many meetings had this task force held since its formation in August 1991? And what had been the outcome of the deliberations and plannings of this task force, and whether it is still in existence?