KUCHING, Nov 21 — Sarawak’s Minister of Utilities and Telecommunications Datuk Seri Julaihi Narawi today said that the supply of electricity does not count as a human right, while tabling a Bill to amend the state’s Electricity Ordinance.

In his winding-up speech after the debate by 14 state lawmakers, Juhaili said under Section 27(3)(a) of the Bill, the entitlement to electricity is not absolute.

“The right to access to electricity is in accordance with the law, meaning to say that it is not for illegal purposes,” he said when replying to Ba’Kelalan State Lawmaker Baru Bian who questioned the necessity to incorporate a new section.

Baru insisted electricity is a basic human right and everyone is entitled to be supplied with electricity.

However, the minister said human rights do not cover those who do not pay for the consumption of electricity, or stealing electricity by meter-tampering.

He said the electricity supplier cannot be compelled to supply to any person who has previously committed any offence, including theft or misuse of electricity for illegal purposes under the Principal Ordinance.

Julaihi said the amendments to the Electricity Ordinance set out pre-conditions for the supply and right of electricity, saying that the supplier would not supply the electricity if a person had failed to settle his electricity bills or had used the electricity for illegal purposes.

Earlier, Julaihi said the Sarawak Electricity Ordinance needs updating to entrench the state’s status as a renewable energy powerhouse in South-east Asia.

Speaking in the Sarawak state legislative assembly, he said this would allow Sarawak to export renewable energy to Sabah, Brunei, Kalimantan, Singapore and even Peninsular Malaysia, through a grid system.

“With the amendments, the Sarawak government will be able to create a robust, well-regulated electricity industry to support the sustainable development of Sarawak to become the regional powerhouse of Asean,” he said when tabling the Bill.

He said a provision is incorporated to strengthen the sale of electricity outside of Sarawak, adding that the abundant resources of renewable energy especially solar and hydro in Sarawak provide for its development which can be exported to neighbouring countries.

“This will position Sarawak as the powerhouse for renewable energy in the region and supports the progress of the Asean Power Grid (APG) to ensure greater regional energy security and sustainability on the basis of mutual benefit,” he added.

He said the Bill will also seek to enable the public and investors to participate in the production or generation through the installation of solar energy systems and cascading hydro-power in the rivers.

He said it is also to enable Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) to procure new energy sources for distribution and supply of electricity to consumers through its transmission grid system, and enable SEB to regulate water flow in rivers designated for cascading hydro station developments and installations.