Minister: RM30 mln flagpole project is ‘non-issue’, Sarawak govt has its reasons

Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

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By Yee Mei

KUCHING, Jan 31: The RM30 million 99-meter-tall flagpole project, which has been making its rounds lately, is a ‘non-issue’, says Sarawak Minister of Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Abdul Karim said that the Sarawak government would not simply plan to build such infrastructure without having its reasons. He also said it is to remind Sarawakians of how far the State has come, especially when claiming back its rights.

“I believe all Sarawakians know that our State has been governed properly, and returns, such as in the form of revenue from oil and gas (O&G), have been good,” he said when asked to comment on the issue today.

He said this is why a company from the private sector decided to fund the (flagpole) project upon knowing the Sarawak government has plans to erect it.

“The cost is high, but don’t compare it to the ones we see in front of buildings — it is not the same. If the flagpole is 99m tall, the foundation or structure (of the flagpole) must be more intricate (than the ones we normally see). Otherwise, it’ll easily fall over,” he said.

Responding to parties that he claimed were ‘making noise’ about the issue, he said the same thing also happened when news of the musical fountain came to light.

He likened it (flagpole) to Kuching Waterfront, which also has landmarks like the musical fountain, and said that it could be a new landmark for tourism.

“Last time, they also made noise about the musical fountain. Not all funds are to build schools, hospitals, or roads. If we have leftover funds, it is not a problem to use them to build other infrastructure to beautify the city.

“If our people are suffering, then priority would go to them. But we already have additional funds to the point whereby we can set up a sovereign wealth fund. If we didn’t have the money, we could not set it up,” he said.

The flagpole in question is being erected to mark Sarawak’s achievements in regaining its rights and privileges under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), including the elevation of the head of the State’s administration from chief minister to premier. — DayakDaily