While indeed Sarawak does have the lowest electricity tariffs in the country, it doesn’t mean that Sarawkians are not also heavily burdened by the high electricity bills, especially when we all are feeling the economic effect of the MCO and COVID-19 virus. The fact is, we have also experienced soaring electricity bills especially during the MCO period as most people were confined to their homes to curb the spread of COVID-19.
On this basis, it is only fair if the Federal Government engage with the local State-owned Utility Companies such as Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) to also extend such financial aid to Sarawak as well, so that Sarawakians can enjoy the additional discounts and rebates for domestic user’s electricity bills provided and not limit it to only those in West Malaysia.
Currently in Sarawak, the SEB under the State Government provides 23% discount and this is on top of the 2 % the Federal Government announced before under the economic stimulus package.
From the recent announcement by the Energy and Natural Resources Minister Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, the Federal Government gave an additional RM 942 million in discounts and rebates for domestic users which include free electricity for the months of April until June, if their consumption for those months were under 300kWh or RM 77.
So, this means that the initial 2% have been pushed up to about 10% by the Federal Government but it is only limited to those in West Malaysia. So technically to be fair to Sarawak, we should also enjoy the additional 10% rebate from the Federal Government on top of the 23% from the State Government on electric bills which are also high during this MCO period.
This will allow us Sarawakians to enjoy free electricity if we use below RM77, since now we only get the 25 % discount, but do not enjoy free electricity if our usage is under RM 77.
Since this is a Federal Government initiative, it should be fair across the board to all Malaysians regardless of demography. The Federal Government has admitted that the additional funds to pay such additional discounts and rebates is taken from Kumpulan Wang Industri Elektrik (KWIE) which is a Federal Government initiative.
Before the change of Government. KWIE was estimated to reach an excess of RM 1.5 billion for June 2020, RM 200 million from their own reserves and an additional RM 1.368 billion from an Imbalance-Cost-Past-Through (ICPT) mechanism and Incentive-Based-Regulation (IBR) that was set by the Pakatan Harapan Government for the period of January to June 2020.
So, since the additional funds which was obtained through good governance measure done under the PH Federal Government is used to fund such initiative, it should be shared among all Malaysians and not just limited to those in West Malaysia as we all are also affected by high electric bills.
That is why I urge both the Federal and State Governments to extend such incentives and rebates to both Sabah and Sarawak so that all Malaysians regardless of demography will not be left out from such benefit.
Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen,
Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching.