Julaihi and Baru cross swords over federal funding for Sarawak projects

Photo of the in-house DUN broadcast showing Julaihi (lower left) in a war of words with Baru (lower right) over the PH government not honouring its promises for Sarawak while DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar (top right) observes.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 6: Assistant Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development Datuk Julaihi Narawi urged Minister of Works Baru Bian to push hard and fight for the needs of Sarawak instead of being afraid of the ‘bosses’ in the federal government.

“Because he is afraid of his boss, that’s his proper motive, Tuan Speaker,” he told the august House when addressing a question from Tellian assemblyman Yussibnosh Balo today.

He was referring to the many projects especially bridges which had been approved but dropped by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and which the Sarawak government subsequently took over.

“I want to explain here that the three bridges approved before the 14th General Election (GE14), even though approved by (the previous) Barisan Nasional (BN) government before Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over, are based on the needs of the rural people of Sarawak,” he pointed out.

As the elected representative helming the position of Minister of Works (Baru), Julaihi said Baru should defend the needs of Sarawakians and not be worried about pressure from the federal government.

“This is what I mean, not bad intention but fight for the needs and allocations which have been approved for Sarawak, this is what I mean,” he stressed.

Baru interjected: “That doesn’t mean we are afraid of our boss. The federal government is a responsible government.”

He argued that not all projects approved by the previous BN government would be implemented because the latter’s conduct and practice was to give approval despite not having the funds. This prompted boos from the floor of the House.

“But the present PH government is a responsible government as we look at the condition of our financial position and the condition is the result of the actions of the previous government. And we are in this legacy and that is the position, Mr Speaker.

“There is no issue (with) ‘takut dengan boss’; we are a responsible government and we will execute projects only within the capability of the federal government,” Baru emphasised.

Julaihi then reminded Baru that firstly, the rights of the Sarawak government which have become the main agenda such as said by PH must be fulfilled.

“Secondly, if the allocations were insufficient, then why were many projects approved in Peninsular Malaysia? What’s the meaning for making Sarawak the stepchild by the federal government? ‘Tepuk dada tanya selera’.

“The whole of Malaysia knows how much have been approved and announced for major projects in the peninsula while (in) Sarawak (projects) were blocked. This is seen as efforts to make Sarawak a stepchild and that’s why I said please fight for the funds,” he added.

Julaihi then refused to give way for Baru to speak, instead giving way to others who had more questions about the development of coastal roads, especially Tellian. — DayakDaily