KUCHING, Nov 16: Corporate Affairs Assistant Minister Abdullah Saidol emphasised that elected representatives do not receive Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) and Minor Rural Project (MRP) funds in cash.
He said every state assemblyman would be allocated RM5 million from the RTP fund and RM2 million from the MRP fund but none of them received the funds in cash.
Abdullah who is Semop assemblyman explained that the elected representatives would attend a lab with residents or division officers and other implementation agencies where they would submit a list of projects to be implemented under RTP or MRP.
The list of projects may be small or big and the maximum value of these RTP projects is RM5 million, while for MRP projects, RM2 million.
He said when the projects were approved, the funds for these projects would be channeled straight to the agencies implementing the projects rather than to the elected representatives.
“The RTP fund was introduced by Tok Nan (former Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) for the rural assemblymen because we cannot be depending on federal funding which may come very late,” he said.
He further pointed out that the Sarawak government has a strict system to monitor how the state assemblymen managed their RTP allocations through Sarawak Implementation Monitoring Unit (SIMU).
“We have to submit a scorecard of how we spend our RTP funds. It is well-monitored. Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia doing that,” said Abdullah at a press conference at the State Legislative Assembly today.
Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman Paulus Palu Gumbang said there are guidelines and treasury instructions for the elected representatives to follow to spend RTP or MRP funds.
He stressed that there was transparency in how the RTP and MRP funds were spent, and Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen could seek clarification from the Public Accounts Committee which also had two opposition members sitting on it.
“We don’t handle the money at all. There is no way that we can abuse the money.
“We are only the middlemen and it is wrong for Kota Sentosa (assemblyman) to assume that there is a misuse of the funds.
“He is only playing to the gallery for his political gain,” said Paulus who is Batu Danau assemblyman.
Both Abdullah and Paulus were responding to Chong’s allegation that there was no transparency in how the elected representatives spent their RTP allocations and that there might be abuse of the funding. — DayakDaily