By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Dec 30: The joint attack on the Democratic Action Party (DAP) over the grasscutting along federal roads issue by four individuals who are mostly Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) members is an ‘intentionally orchestrated drama’.
DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen said he was both sad and amused that SUPP had to resort to such a low-class act with an individual, who had a court case in 2010 for involvement in the smuggling of cooking oil, to play up this issue.
Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, was referring to the attacks on him over the grasscutting issue the past two days by Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Lo Khere Chiang, SUPP candidate for Padungan in the 2016 state election Peter Pau, SUPP Batu Kitang Youth secretary Leonard Tan and one Chin Siaw Hong, who used nickname ‘Hui Tai Lang’ on social media.
The whole issue started upon the discovery that there were no maintenance works, including grass cutting, being carried out in November and December along the federal roads. Lo said it was due to federal allocations being axed, followed by a complaint lodged with Talikhidmat by Pau. Then Tan and Chin lodged reports with the Malaysian Anti-corruption Commission (MACC) to call for an investigation on Chong.
“All four of them come together to play this drama. This cannot be a coincidence. It must be premeditated,” he told a press conference at the DAP headquarters today.
“I have also checked with the MoF (Ministry of Finance). There was no cut in the allocation for road maintenance for federal roads in 2018. It is just that the contractors appointed by the previous (Barisan Nasional) government had used up the funds for the whole year by October,” he reiterated.
Chong also said calls to the council to clear the overgrown grass at certain stretches of Batu Kawah Road, which was blocking the view of motorists, were to no avail.
“Fair enough, it is a federal road but it is still within Padawan council area and trimming those grass will not use up much of their funds and will last until the next federal allocation come down in 2019. So what is so difficult? But Lo Khere Chiang refused to do it,” he said.
Concerned about the safety of road users, Chong revealed that he forked out RM200 to engage two gardeners to cut the grass along the affected stretch of road.
Instead of discharging his duty as council chairman, he lamented that Lo issued a press statement calling for his resignation as the deputy minister for failing to secure more allocations from the federal government for Sarawak and also informed him that Pau had lodged a Talikhidmat complaint about the grasscutting issue.
On the MACC report lodged by Tan and Chin, Chong asked: “What do I have to do with the grasscutting project that was awarded by the previous government before we (opposition) took over the government. It is not (under) my ministry.” — DayakDaily