CM: Sarawak to ensure its rural transformation programme is credible

Abang Johari speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting with GPS elected representatives.

KUCHING, August 30: The state government will implement a more robust system to ensure that funds meant for the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) are not abused and that the projects run smoothly and transparently.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said he was contented with how RTP projects were implemented at the moment, but he admitted there was a need to ensure that every sen spent was accounted for.

“We (state government) are the ones dispersing the allocation, so we need to know how to monitor the projects,” he told reporters after briefing Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers on RTP-related matters at a hotel here today.

Following a dramatic change in the country’s political landscape following the May 9 polls, this is the first time the GPS-led state government is giving RTP allocations to its own elected representatives, amounting to RM5 million each annually.

To ensure that RTP projects are implemented in a more efficient and transparent manner, each GPS lawmaker must submit their proposal to the state government through the Resident Office. The approved allocation would then be channelled directly to the implementing agencies, not to the elected representatives.

The state government currently monitors how its 72 assemblypersons and 19 MPs manage their RTP allocations through the Sarawak Implementation Monitoring Unit.

Meanwhile, Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira said GPS must “walk the talk” to deliver all promises made to the people, and that the state must not wait and depend on the federal government.

Gira said GPS elected representatives must “walk the talk” in implementing projects to benefit the people, as the state government has allocated more funds.

“We have to submit the list of projects to the state government for implementation. Once approved, the funds will be channelled directly to the relevant government agencies to carry out the projects. Only minor rural project (MRP) grants are channelled directly to the elected representatives,” Gira told reporters after the meeting.

At present, the state government provides an annual allocation of RM1 million for MRP, RM5 million for RTP and RM250,000 for the running of service centres to each GPS lawmaker. — DayakDaily