Chong, Manyin in verbal spat in august House

Chong (seated centre) addressing a press conference.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 13: Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen has challenged Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong to list out all companies owned by him or his family members that have participated in projects related to his ministry or the state government.

Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, made this call following a minor dispute when intercepting Manyin during his winding-up speech on the dilapidated schools issue in Sarawak in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) this morning.

Manyin also suggested that Chong could participate in the rebuilding or repair of dilapidated school projects in Sarawak, in which Chong immediately objected. Manyin then clarified that he welcomed companies belonging to Chong’s friends to participate.

“I am shocked at the suggestion of Manyin in his winding-up (speech) that I can participate in the school projects for rebuilding or repair of dilapidated schools,” Chong told a press conference in the DUN Media Centre later.

“What Manyin did in DUN today is openly advocating cronyism, and that must be stopped,” he slammed, pointing out that this reflected Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ministers’ mentality of “condoning cronyism.”

Chong stressed that politicians were involved in politics not for business opportunities or business advantage from the government.

“As far as the DAP (Democratic Action Party) is concerned, members or elected reps are forbidden from participating in government projects or applying for state land,” he emphasized.

Chong added that it must be made clear as it was also the law that as members of the administration, ministers or assistant ministers were not allowed to hold any position in any company and to do business.

“I don’t know whether ministers and assistant ministers of GPS can hold positions as directors of a private company or not, but I strongly believe that should not be allowed. That is a clear case of conflict of interest.

“He (Manyin) should be truthful and transparent to the people of Sarawak as he is managing the wealth of the people of Sarawak,” he opined. — DayakDaily