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Parliamentary Speech, 8th March 2018 – First Session of Parliament

I am thankful for this opportunity to deliver my speech on the motion of thanks for the royal address by His Majesty The Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Before I continue my speech, I request the permission of my friends on this side and over on that side as I have many issues to debate; therefore, I will not have time to give way to interventions.

I wish to take this opportunity to raise several issues which will give a more accurate picture of Barisan Nasional (BN)’s track record under the leadership of The Hon. Prime Minister (MP for Pekan) approaching GE14, so that the rakyat can know the truth about BN’s track record.

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The government must increase financial incentives to grow the demand for Solar PVs in Malaysia

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang and Assistant National Director for Political Education for the DAP, on the 29th of January 2018

Despite Prime Minister Najib’s visit to the White House in September last year, which some touted as a success[1], it was not able to prevent the United States from slapping a 30% tariff on solar photovoltaics (PVs) which are made in Malaysia.[2] This decision, announced on the 22nd of January, will no doubt be challenged in the World Trade Organization (WTO). But the extent of reliance of Malaysian-based solar PVs manufacturers on the US market also reveals the sad fact that the domestic market for solar PVs have been seriously held back by the inability of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHa) as well as the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) from providing the right financial incentives to grow the local demand for solar PVs.

According to the SEDA website, the total installed capacity for solar PVs in Malaysia currently stands at 357 MW which is approximately 1.3% of the total installed energy capacity of approximately 27,000MW. Those in the solar PV industry regularly complain about the shortage of the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) quota for solar PVs. Customers who want to install solar PVs on the roofs of their homes or factories regularly are disappointed when the solar PV installers tell them that they failed to obtain the FiT quota. The move to Net Energy Metering (NEM), implemented in 2017, was supposed to ‘solve’ the shortage of the FIT for Solar PVs by allowing consumers with solar PVs to sell directly into the grid to Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) without needing to have an FIT quota. Sadly, KeTTHa only allocated 500MW from 2016 to 2020, with a maximum of 100MW per year, as the maximum allowable capacity to be installed under NEM.

According to SEDA’s NEM website[3], as of today (29th of January, 2018), the total amount of the NEM quota taken up is a disappointingly low 8.69 MW for Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah (Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: Net Energy Metering (NEM) Quota Balance and Quota Taken up for Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah (as of 29th of January 2018)

Source: SEDA NEM Monitoring website (

The reason for this low uptake in the NEM applications is two-fold.

Firstly, the rate at which we can ‘sell back’ energy produced by the solar PVs is extremely low at 31 sen per kWh. (The FIT rates start at 67 sen for installations less than 4kW) By comparison, we have to ‘buy’ energy from TNB at a tiered tariff rate of 21.8 sen (first 200kWh), 33.4 sen (next 100kWh), 51.6 sen (next 300kWh), 54.6 sen (next 300kWh) and 57.1 sen (above 900kWh).

Since the net billing formula is the amount of electricity we used * the TNB tariff rate (which averages 38 sen per kWh) minus the amount of electricity we generate via the Solar PV * the tariff rate we sell back to TNB (or other wise known as the displaced cost which is 31 sen per kWh), as long as we use more than 300kWH per month, we will likely have to pay TNB rather than TNB paying us for generating electricity. (See Figure 2 below)

Figure 2: Net Billing formula under NEM

Secondly, in the event that the value of electricity generated by the solar PV system in a month is more than the value of electricity consumed i.e. net billing is positive, this amount will be credited into the TNB account of the consumer. The consumer cannot ‘take out’ this credit from the TNB account and use it as cash to, let’s say, pay off the cost of installing the solar PV system. And this credit can only remain in the account for a period of 24 months, after which the credit will be forfeited.

Imagine a situation of an energy efficient household which uses less than 200kWH per month and which has installed a 12kWh system. This household may be able to generate a significant amount of energy via the solar PV system and hence, accumulate a significant amount of credits of thousands of Ringgit a year. Basically, under the current system, all of these credits be ‘wasted’ and flushed down the drain after 2 years.

For both of the reasons outlined above, the rate of return for installing solar PVs under the NEM is very low which means there is little incentive for consumers in Malaysia to install solar PVs in large numbers. The low take-up of the NEM for solar PVs means that companies selling solar PVs and companies which install solar PVs have very little business in Malaysia. This translates into a lower number of jobs which should have been created as a result of the expansion of the solar PV market in Malaysia. The New York Times wrote the following in an article evaluating the impact of the Trump tariff on foreign made solar PVs[4]:

“Solar manufacturing now represents just a fraction of the overall jobs that have developed around the solar industry. More than 260,000 Americans are employed in the sector, but fewer than 2,000 of those employed in the United States are manufacturing solar cells and modules, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Far more workers are employed in areas that underpin the use of solar technology, such as making steel racks that angle the panels toward the sun. And the bulk of workers in the solar industry install and maintain the projects, a process that is labor-intensive and hard to automate.(bold and italics are mine)

By restricting the amount of the quota under the NEM and having such a low price for solar PV generated electricity which is sold back to TNB and for not allowing the credits to be converted into cash, KeTTHa is protecting the profits of TNB and restricting the growth of good quality jobs in solar PV sales, marketing and installation that can employ skilled Malaysians at good wages.

While the domestic market in Malaysia cannot currently replace the US market for made in Malaysia solar PVs of 3,789 MW a year[5], one of the concrete steps which the government can take in the meantime to lessen the impact of the hike in the US tariff is to increase the financial incentives for solar PVs in Malaysia so as to grow the domestic market.

Many people scoffed at the promise by Pakatan Harapan’s Youth Wings to create 1 million good quality jobs in 5 years of a new PH government. This is a clear-cut case of how some of these 1 million good quality jobs can be created under a PH government which does not protect the excessive profits of monopolies like TNB but values the welfare of consumers and the creation of jobs which pay good wages and are not easily automated.







150MW Solar Farm awarded to 3 companies with no experience in solar installations

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 17th of November, 2016

150MW Solar Farm awarded to 3 companies with no experience in solar installations

It was announced on the 3rd of November, 2016 that Tenaga Nasional Bhd had signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with three Special Purpose Companies (SPCs) – Quantum Solar Park (Melaka), Quantum Solar Park (Kedah) and Quantum Solar Park (Terengganu) – that were set up by a consortium of three private companies to build three 50MW solar farms in Jasin in Melaka, Gurun in Kedah and Merchang in Terengganu. TNB said that these solar farm projects were awarded to this consortium by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA).

I had asked in February this year for the Minister to reveal the identity of the consortium which was awarded the right to build a 150MW solar farm.[1] The Minister was not willing to divulge this information even when I asked him directly during a parliamentary sitting. We had to wait until TNB’s bourse filing earlier this month to find out the identity of the consortium.

None of the three companies in the consortium – Maltech Pro Sdn Bhd, Cam-Lite Sdn Bhd and ItraMAS Technology – seems to have any experience in solar installations.

Maltech Pro Sdn Bhd, which was incorporated in April 2012, is in the business of ‘mobile applications, devices and equipment’, according to its company profile. It was in the news in 2012 for selling the first Malaysian made tablet – 1 Malaysia Pad – at RM999.[2] At the time of writing, it is unsure if any of these tablets were ever delivered to buyers, especially since Maltech Pro’s website is no longer functioning (

In addition, the shareholders of Maltechpro Sdn Bhd also raises concerns. Sohaimi bin Shahadan, who owns 35% of the company and is its executive chairman, is also a member of the UMNO Supreme Council.[3] Ahmad Zaffry bin Sulaiman, who owns 20% of the company, is an UMNO leader in Shah Alam.[4]

Was this one of the considerations when this 150MW solar farm award was given to this consortium?

Cam-Lite Sdn Bhd was established in 2007 and is in the business of ‘trading in electronic products’. Its two shareholders are Zainoor bin Sulaiman (90%) and Zeliza Binti Zainoor (10%). It does not have any website and in its last filing to the Companies Commission of Malaysia, its revenue for financial year ending in 2012 was RM131,359 with a profit of RM1,397.

The third company in the consortium, Itramas, has a website ( and has three core areas of business namely Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), Security and Surveillance, and LED lighting products. Its revenues in 2014 was RM44million and it made an after-tax profit of RM413,189. But there is no record of this company having any experience in solar installations.

Given the lack of any track record of these companies in the consortium, why were they awarded this contract? Especially when there are many other more qualified companies who are bidding for these solar farm projects in Malaysia? What is the value of the PPA which they signed with TNB? I call upon KeTTHA to allow the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) to conduct open tenders for these solar farm projects to ensure transparency.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang