By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 ― Malaysia’s renewable energy authority today rebutted claims that it awarded lucrative feed-in tariff solar power contracts to companies that had failed to meet technical and financial requirements.
DAP parliamentarian Tony Pua had earlier questioned the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) for approving applications made by companies linked to Petronas chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan’s daughter.
Pua with his PKR ally and fellow MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar, recently highlighted that Suzi Suliana Mohd Sidek and three other business partners own 12 out of 32 companies that they said won the “lion’s share” or 32.4 per cent of the nation’s solar energy quota.
SEDA confirmed that a Power System Study (PSS) was needed for such applications, based on the Renewable Energy (Technical & Operational Requirements) Rules 2011.
“In most cases the distribution licensee such as Tenaga Nasional Berhad is given a maximum of 30 days to complete the PSS,” wrote SEDA in a statement signed by its chairman, Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn.
“It is possible to complete a PSS in a much shorter period,” it said, pointing out the 30-day period is only “the maximum period given”.
Pua had today asked if the PSS were conducted for all of the 12 companies, as eight of the companies were said to be set up only 21 days before the application deadline.
But SEDA said that all approvals are only granted after the PSS reports are “uploaded into the e-FiT online system”, in reference to the “fully automated” system that it previously said involves no human intervention.
SEDA also said approvals were issued only if applicants “had provided documentary evidence” to prove they have the “financial capability to fund the project”, adding that this requirement extended to joint venture partners.
But the authority said that it could not disclose these documents as “they are confidential in nature”.
Pua had further asked if the 12 companies had sufficient funds to carry out the projects, claiming that at least nine of them only had a paid up capital of RM100 after six months of the award date.
SEDA slammed Pua for his “uninformed, unwarranted and unjustified allegations”, saying that these would “be detrimental to the development of the renewable energy industry”.
It said it would have immediately clarified matters if asked, but noted that Pua had “irresponsibly” continued his allegations and attacks without doing so.
It also welcomed “constructive criticisms” but regretted that its efforts to “promote transparency” through the online application system had been “unfairly manipulated” by what appears to be “politically motivated allegations”.
It reiterated that the e-FiT online system “will not discriminate any applicants, regardless of their family connections”.