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||13 January 2010
China, Malaysia in $11bn Borneo power project
China's leading power grid operator SGCC and Malaysian development fund 1MDB said Monday they will establish massive energy projects worth $11 billion in Malaysian Borneo, AFP reported.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak unveiled the joint venture between government development and investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China).
"In a short period of time 1MDB and SGCC, which is China's leading power and distribution company, will be collaborating to identify and plan a number of multi-billion-dollar projects," Najib said in a speech.
"I understand this project will have a total value of 11 billion dollars." Najib did not give details of the projects, but Malaysian officials said they will focus on the energy sector.
The Star newspaper has reported that 1MDB and SGCC will establish hydropower plants and a massive aluminium smelter in Sarawak state on resource-rich Borneo, an island split between Malaysia and Indonesia.
Meenakshi Raman from Friends of the Earth Malaysia said the group was "very concerned about this huge investment" and called on the government to clarify its development plans for Sarawak.
"Our concern is that these companies will be going into dirty industries like aluminium smelters and dams and coal power plants which will only degrade the environment further in Sarawak," she said. Plans for up to a dozen vast hydro-electric dams in Sarawak have raised alarm among indigenous groups and environmentalists who have spent decades campaigning against rampant logging and plantation activity.
SGCC president Liu Zhenya said the firm's plans were part of a boom in trade and energy sector cooperation between the two countries in recent years. "The Chinese government is very supportive of Chinese enterprises' involvement in the infrastructure projects in Malaysia in a more extensive way," he said. afp
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