By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 6: Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian has expressed disappointment for being imputed with improper motives during a row with a Sarawak assistant minister over lack of efforts in fighting for the state.
Baru, who is also the state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief and federal Works Minister, said Sarawak Pakatan Harapan MPs are doing their best within the financial constraint of the federal government to bring about development in the state.
There is no such thing as Sarawak Pakatan MPs or federal Cabinet members being “scared” of the boss (Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad), he added.
“You never see me being so disappointed in all my life as ADUN member (state elected representative).
“When you have imputed improper motives, I have to stand up as it has to do with our integrity and credibility,” he told reporters in the media room at the DUN complex here today.
Baru was responding to Assistant Minister of Infrastructure and Ports Development Datuk Julaihi Narawi following an altercation over the federal government’s cancellation of three bridge projects in the state.
Julaihi had criticised the federal government for cancelling the Batang Lupar, Batang Igan and Batang Rambungan bridge projects, which had been approved by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
The Sebuyau assemblyman told Pakatan representatives in the federal government should fight for Sarawak and don’t be afraid of the “boss”.
In this regards, Baru explained that the federal government had made the decision to cancel the projects after checking with the relevant agencies and AG Chambers.
“They confirmed it is a state road and being state road, the federal government does not have the purview and power to continue with these bridges. That’s one point.
“Secondly, the federal government is in financial constraint, which everyone is aware. The federal government has examined the country’s financial standing and we are really in a bad situation.
“Because of that, we made the decision (to postpone the bridge projects). This is not because we do not fight for the rights of Sarawak, not because we don’t want to prioritise the development in Sarawak,” he said.
Baru expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Sarawak government for taking over the three bridge projects, while pointing out that the state and federal governments can play their respective roles in the Federation of Malaysia.
“We are doing it right if we complement each other in our roles without politicising the development, as when there is a need for development, let’s address it together,” he said.
Baru pledged to do his utmost best for the state of Sarawak and the people by bringing in relevant projects, not only for infrastructure but also a focussing on schools, healthcare, Internet connectivity and solar power.
He reminded that all the problems faced by the state have been there for the past 56 years and that the federal government not only look at one place in allocating funds.
“Clearly the 2020 National Budget has put special focus for Sabah and Sarawak, there is improvement in the amount from the past. Don’t belittle the allocation given to Sabah and Sarawak, this is only the beginning.
“While we are doing our best, we are being criticised for everything. That’s funny when they (state government) themselves were part of the BN for the last 50 over years. So if you want to criticise, you must remember you are part of BN in the past,” he said. — DayakDaily