By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Oct 21: Following flak from some state ministers and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers, Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen explained today why several approved federal projects had to be cancelled.
He said there were two types of projects that had to be cancelled, not just in Sarawak but in others states as well. One is what he referred to as “hot air projects” and the other is “crony projects”.
“Hot air projects” refer to those promised by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during his visits to Sarawak and other parts of the country but where no budgetary allocations were approved in Parliament.
“There are hundreds of such projects all over the country. Of course, some are in Sarawak. (They are) empty promises by Najib, but no budget allocation approved in Parliament.
“This is basically one of the practices of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, whereby they make promises when the time is close to elections, knowing that there are no funds for it and no budget allocation or not approved by the budget.
“That’s why you see a lot of these promised project by BN year in year out, elections after election, many earth breaking ceremonies but the projects never took off,” he told a press conference at the state Democratic Action Party (DAP) headquarters here today.
“Crony projects” refer to those that had been approved with allocations, but the cost had been inflated too much, he explained.
“These crony projects that have been terminated are those that were awarded directly without any open tenders at a highly inflated price. These projects are all under review now and have been stopped for the time being,” he revealed.
Chong explained that despite “crony projects” having been approved with allocations, they would be difficult to implement due to the extremely high cost, which would not benefit the country as a whole.
“They will benefit only the cronies at the expense of the people,” he said. — DayakDaily