A power failure which left most of Malaysia without electricity for up to 16 hours has cost the country millions of dollars, officials said yesterday. Malaysians were asking how such a blackout could hit a country with the technology and wealth to build the world's tallest buildings and produce highly sophisticated computer components. 'In terms of financial losses it is certainly very huge,' the Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, said. He said the power failure was a major embarrassment to the country and that Malaysia must look for an alternative power distribution system. Most factories in major industrial areas were either forced to shut down or operate at minimum capacity. Production schedules were badly hit and thousands of factory workers were asked to go home. From 5.18 pm on Saturday until early yesterday, most of Peninsular Malaysia was without electricity. The result was chaos. About 15 million Malaysians spent a hot night sitting at home in the darkness without any detailed information about the extent of the fault even if they had battery-powered radios. Mr Ibrahim, said the blackout was unacceptable and had resulted in huge financial losses. 'The Prime Minister [Dr Mahathir Mohamad], has given notice that we have to review the whole power supply system in the country,' he said. 'We actually have excess capacity. It is a question of the system. I don't have the answers, but we cannot allow this to recur.' He said Tenaga, the national power authority, should be held responsible for the breakdown, which appeared to have been due to equipment failure. Adding to the Government's embarrassment was the admission by Tenaga that the blackout originated in the same area in Paka, Terengannu state, as the last major failure in 1992. The Energy Minister, Leo Moggie, said the breakdown started with 'tripping' at a transmission line near the Paka power station, which created a 'cascading effect' across the peninsula. He said he would be recommending a review of Tenaga's network and would propose to Cabinet that foreign experts be engaged to study the existing system. Tenaga began restoring power to some areas in Peninsular Malaysia before midnight but it was near dawn before the electricity came on again in most parts of Kuala Lumpur and the bulk of the country. A spokesman said that by 8 am on Sunday power had been restored to 95 per cent of the affected area. He said the company was still investigating the cause of the failure. The Star newspaper said when people realised it was not a local failure but a national breakdown, they became angry.