Malaysia: Look at other power sources other than nuclear

TASNIM LOKMAN New Straits Times 28 Aug 14;

ASTANA, Kazakhstan: Malaysia needs to explore more natural power sources for the future.

Malaysia Physicians for Social Responsibility (MPSR) president Dr David Quek told the New Straits Times the government needs to find other power alternatives for the future instead of opting to go nuclear.

"It is understood that the government is looking into nuclear power options. However, they should seriously reconsider this as there are other sources such as waves, wind and solar energy that is safer for the country and people.

"It may not be absolutely impossible but the technological system the world has now is still in its infancy stage and yet to be fully refined and clean.

"It's just not the right time and there may never be," he said.

Dr Quek was attending the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear (IPPNW) 21st World Congress here, with two other Malaysian delegates from MPSR Dr Thong Kok Wai and Ronald McCoy, who is also former co-president of IPPNW.

This year's congress themed "From Nuclear Test Ban to a Nuclear Weapon Free World: Disarment, Peace and Global Health in the 21st Century" was launched today by president of IPPNW 21st World Congress Dr Abai Baigenzhin, founding IPPNW co-president Dr Evgueni Chazov and Kazakhstan Health Minister Dr Salidat Kairbekova.

More than 500 participants from 44 countries such as the Netherlands, Japan and India who are involved in the health industry attended the six-day event.

Austrian Foreign Affairs minister Ronald Sturm who spoke during the opening ceremony applauded the big step Kazakhstan has taken by disarming themselves from nuclear testing.

"Kazakhstan is a role model and should be applauded for its disarment to a non-nuclear weapon state and now we wait for others to follow suit. We should applaud and appeal for them to continue the hard work," he said.

‘Hydropower will boost people’s future’
Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 28 Aug 14;

KUCHING: HYDROPOWER holds the key to the future of Sarawak as it will turn the state into a high-income society, said Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.

However, he said, the biggest challenge in hydropower development was to create a greater understanding among villagers from the areas earmarked for the construction of dams.

He said such development projects were vital to ensure that the villagers’ children were not deprived of opportunities.

Taib said many could not understand the connection between hydropower and development.

“They don’t really understand how the dams can benefit them so they refuse to move. This causes conflicts and delays in the resettlement process,” said Taib at the Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak 31st anniversary celebration here yesterday.

“Because of that, their children have to walk miles and miles to school as most of them are living in remote areas. So, some of them would easily give up on education and return to the villages to become farmers.”

“We don’t want any of our people to be neglected as we want everyone to benefit and take part in development. Everyone deserves a better life and higher income.”

Taib, who is Azam’s founder, urged the organisation’s committee members to be more aggressive in disseminating information about hydropower development by using relevant and acceptable methods.

“We cannot use the same method of disseminating information in urban areas and use it in the interior. City folk are well-connected to the Internet, but people in villages are not,” Taib said.

Azam is a non-governmental organisation which aims to facilitate development efforts in Sarawak by engaging the people.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who was at the same function, said that once rural villagers were well-informed about hydropower development and its benefits, they would not be influenced by the views of certain quarters who have been criticising such projects for a personal agenda.

“I want our people to understand government policy and development plans as these things are meant for the people.

“We don’t need the foreign NGOs with their personal agendas to tell us what to do,” he said, referring to certain foreign NGOs that have criticised Sarawak for its development projects, claiming they could affect the state’s environment.

“We encourage rural villagers to be part of our development progress, and to be able to have a firm stand regardless of what the foreign NGOs say,” he said.

Research still ongoing to decide on nuclear power plant
TEOH PEI YING New Straits Times 28 Aug 14;

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has not finalised decision to build a nuclear power plant to generate electricity.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Mah Siew Keong said research on the matter is still being carried out.

"This is a long process, it doesn't means that we starting gather information, getting feedback from the involving parties, we are going to build a nuclear power plant next year.

"To complete all these steps maybe will take up to 10 years or 12 years, but works have to start now, including obtain the information and feedback," he told reporters after launching the Steinbeis Malaysia Foundation at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) here today.

Mah, who is in charge of overseeing the nuclear energy industry, said the government will ensure the matter is dealt with in a transparent manner and the people will be kept abreast with the latest developments.

"A lot of people are worried after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. “That is the reason we want to update the public on the information we have compiled.

“The most important, we will get all the information and do what is correct for the country and the rakyat," he said.

Asked about would government insisted the proposal if the majority were against the project ,he said the government will follow the wishes of the public.

However he added there is need to find alternatives to replace nuclear.

"I am not saying that the government will definitely build nuclear power plant. If majority are against the proposal, then we have to think of other alternatives. We have to explore all possible ways,” he said.

Mah said currently the country is dependent on coal which is made up of at least 40 per cent of fossil fuel to generate power and this will go up to 75 per cent by 2023.