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Sarawak Energy’s RM30b loan stumps DAP

 | July 18, 2012

Who approved RM30 billion loan for Sarawak Energy Bhd which recorded an annual after tax profit of only RM330 million?

KUCHING: How did Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) manage to secure a RM30 billion loan when its annual after tax profits amounted to only RM330 million? Is it because SEB or Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (Sesco) is a state government- owned company?

Either way the RM30 billion loan to SEB has left Sarawak DAP stumped.

“It is a very shocking figure. It may take 100 years to pay the loan plus the interests.

“Even Sarawak’s annual revenue is only between RM4 billion and RM5 billion. How is it possible then to secure a RM30 billion loan?

“Surely there is something extraordinary here which needs full explanation,” DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said, adding that SEB chief executive officer Torstein Dale Sjotveit had to explain why SEB is “borrowing 100 times more than” its annual profit.

Chong said thus far both SEB and Sesco have been very quiet about the loan which was entered into in June last year.

“Why is Sesco keeping so quiet on this matter? We want to know the purpose of the loan and who approved it,” he said.

Chong, who is Kota Sentosa assemblyman, added that the issue was of concern to Sarawakians who are worried that if Sesco cannot pay the loan, the whole of Sarawak will go bankrupt.

“How much is Sesco paying the interest on this loan? If you are talking about interest of 10%, Sesco is going to pay at least RM3 billion, which is equivalent to the state revenue.

“And if you talk about 5% interest, the amount will be RM1.5 billion. And this amount involves the interest only, but what about the payment for the loan?” asked Chong, who is also the MP for Bandar Kuching.

Government must explain

He also wanted to know how Sesco is planning pay for the loan given that its annual profit after tax was RM276 million in 2008, RM217 million in 2009 and RM336 million in 2010.

“That amount of profit is only about one percent or so of the loan that Sesco has raised,” he said, and urged the government to give a full explanation on the loan.

The state government under Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has proposed to build 12 more dams, excluding Bakun and Batang Ai hydro-electric dams, to produce 7,000MW in order to attract RM20 billion investments.

The new dams will be sited at Baram, Baleh, Belaga, Metjawah, Lawas, Tutoh, Limbang, Murum, Limau and Belepeh, Ulu Ai and Batang Ai extension in Lubok Antu.

SEB has been entrusted to build 12 more dams in Sarawak.

It is understood that the RM30 billion-loan could be used to finance the construction of these dams.

The Baram dam alone is expected to cost RM4 billion.


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