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Federal court reserves decision in Tenaga’s appeal

PUTRAJAYA, 27 May 2009: The Federal Court here today deferred decision in the appeal by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) against the granting of an injunction order to a group of villagers in Rawang to halt the construction of a 275kV transmission line through their village.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judges Datuk Seri S Augustine Paul and Datuk James Foong reserved judgment after hearing submissions from TNB’s counsel, Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, and Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, counsel for 23 residents of Kampung Sungai Terentang New Village.

The Court of Appeal on 21 Jan ruled in favour of the villagers and granted them an injunction to stop TNB from constructing the transmission line through the village.

It allowed their appeal to reverse the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision, delivered on 7 Dec 2007, dismissing their application for a judicial review of TNB’s decision to enter the lands occupied by the residents to undertake upgrading works on its transmission lines on the lands.

The residents opposed the works because they were concerned with the danger of being exposed to high-tension cables which may cause cancer and leukaemia.  

Das argued that TNB was entitled to undertake the upgrading works of its 33kV transmission line to 275 kV under Section 13 of the Electricity Supply Act.

He said the word “upgrading” under Section 13 covered the upgrading of the cables and the structures upholding the cable which were components of an electrical installation conveying electricity by aerial lines.

“Thus the word “upgrading” under Section 13 would connote an improvement including by replacement of the components of the electrical installation on the lands, he submitted.

He said the Court of Appeal was wrong to equate the upgrading works as limited to tightening of screws and repainting of posts.

Das said the upgrading work was urgent due to the increase in demand for energy by consumers in the Klang Valley and that about 200,000 consumers would indirectly benefit from the project.        

Malik Imtiaz, however, argued that the work that TNB wanted to carry out was the construction of a new transmission line and not upgrading work. — Bernama

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