Batu Kitang rep assures Haji Baki projects will not be axed

Lo Khere Chiang

KUCHING, May 18: Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang has assured that projects in Haji Baki would not be cancelled despite funding cut from the federal government.

He was commenting on DAP Batu Kitang Branch chairman Abdul Aziz Isa’s suggestions that Padawan Municipal Council (PMC), in which Lo is the chairman, should take over the RM800,000 Haji Baki hawker centre project as it was under PMC’s jurisdiction.

“Regardless of whether the funds were pledged by the previous government or the present government, we should continue to fight for these funds. I would never cancel those projects,” he said in a press statement today.

Besides the hawker centre, another affected project was the proposed RM1 million hall for Haji Baki.

Lo said he believed Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg would also never agree to cancel these projects.

“We are trying to improve the livelihood of the people. It is not about me or Aziz. The people of Haji Baki voted for me as their representative in DUN because they are giving me the privilege to serve them,” he added.

Lo invited Aziz to see him in his office to clear his confusion about the affected projects.

“He should not deliberately confuse the public if it is he himself who is really confused,” he advised.

Furnishing the facts, Lo explained that former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had, via the State Development Office, pledged RM570,000 in 2016 for earthworks. The Public Works Department (JKR) completed the earthworks last year.

“RM570,000 was paid out in two phases to the contractor by JKR, with phase one RM370,000 and phase two RM200,000.

“Then, Najib pledged RM1 million for building the Dewan Haki Baki just before the state election in 2016 and another RM800,000 to improve the facilities for the Haji Baki hawker centre at the same time,” he added.

Lo emphasised that the kampung folks even approached the State Development Office (SDO) and JKR in 2018 but was told that these two projects had been instructed to be put on hold by the federal Ministry of Finance (MOF).

“Now, who is the Minister of Finance? Aziz’s big boss, Lim Guan Eng. And now Aziz is asking me why I did not cancel the Haji Baki projects? What an awful thing to say.

“Instead of asking me to cancel those projects, Aziz should instead approach his boss, Lim Guan Eng, and tell him not to KIV (keep in view) these funds but to release them immediately to complete these two projects, which the people of Haji Baki have been waiting for years,” he said.

The budget, Lo added, was only a mere RM1.8 million and reminded that it was only fair as Sarawak had been contributing RM250 million worth of petroleum every single day and siphoned over to Malaya.

“Hasn’t Sarawak been contributing to 30 per cent of total oil revenue for the whole nation? So where is the promise to return 20 per cent oil royalty and the autonomy on health and education as promised?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Aziz had reasoned that providing hawker centre to the people was under the local council’s jurisdiction.

He also pointed out the inefficiency of the previous government in budget management, which had resulted in carelessly approving projects without reviewing each of the authority within the federal government, state government and local government.

Aziz also said that under the concept of public administration, Lo should know that the different jurisdiction between these three layers of the government in Malaysia. — DayakDaily