Launching of WAITRO-ISESCO Hydro Generator Power System Project in Kampung Libang Laut, Sabah, Malaysia

Electricity is an important commodity, and as the world's population increases, the need for electricity will definitely grow. World consumption of electricity is actually expected to double over the next thirty years.  Electricity is used in industry, commerce, public transport and of course, in our homes. Although many countries around the world are using nuclear energy to generate electricity, there are still an estimation about two billion people living in under-developed countries who have no electricity at all.

Despite having only a lower secondary education and no formal training in engineering, Mr. Hamid Jasmin managed to build two working mini hydro power generators at the village that supplied power for sixteen households in the village for the past five years. He got his inspiration through a booklet on the concept of hydroelectricity belonging to his brother, Dr Yusoff Jasmin, a well known figure in the district who is currently the Principal of SMK Nambayan, here.

In the four months he took to complete the first mini hydro power generator, Hamid said it was all about trial and error to get the generator to actually work and supply power.  Here, improvisation was the key, he said, pointing out that he eventually got the generator to work and supplied power to 12 homes in the process - all for free.

The second mini hydro project started soon after, he said, which was completed in late 2004, adding that both projects cost an estimated US$1,800. The second project helped supply power to four more households - also free of charge.

His ingenuity did not go unnoticed when the Secretariat together with the Poverty Alleviation Committee visited the village on January 15, 2007 to see for itself the highly impact innovation.  The Committee was left astonished with the innovation approach of the villagers to tap the available of sustainable resource to generate electricity on their own without waiting for the support from any government agency.

With that in mind, WAITRO with the collaboration of the Malaysian Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) and through SIRIM Berhad decided to take Hamid's idea a step further to enable the whole village to enjoy power supply.

On 19 February 2009, the newest mini hydro power system with a capacity of 40kv in the village that was funded by WAITRO and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) was unveiled in a ceremony officiated by Deputy Chief Minister and Rural Development Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan. Also present at the launch was the Malaysia Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili.

The system would be able to provide power to forty five households in the village.  Currently, many of the households there are relying on diesel-powered generators or kerosene lamps, known as "palasut".  The system was built by the villagers themselves with SIRIM Berhad providing technical assistance and guidance.

WAITRO President, Dr Dieter R. Fuchs said the project was their commitment to helping communities.  He mentioned in his speech that "It has been two years since I and the Poverty Alleviation Committee, last visited this village and we vowed to come back to help the community.   It is not only big high tech projects that can bring a difference to a community but a small scale such as this will pay off, especially for the next generation."  Tuan Haji Yahaya Ahmad, the President and Chief Executive of SIRIM Berhad also heaped praise on Mr. Hamid Jasmin ingenuity, saying it showed that inventions do not necessarily come from people holding degrees or with a professional background.

The project will continue with Phase Two which is to support Post Harvest Processing Activities of Local Herbs which will be developed to create a socio-economic programme to increase the economic live hood of the villagers.

The village of Linbang Laut is a fine example of a society which has a strong determination to improve its living standard with minimal assistance. With the proper support and guidance, the villagers will have the opportunity to enhance their live hood and create a better future for their children.

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