By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Dec 29: Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Lo Khere Chiang today took a swipe at Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen for stating that cutting grass along federal roads is the responsibility of MPP.
“I despise YB Chong for misleading the public into thinking cutting grass for our federal highway is the responsibility of the council. Chong, do not make wild allegations that make you look stupid. Get your facts right,” Lo said in a statement issued here today.
“I am astonished that Chong can make such wild allegation about using his own money for grass cutting at protocol roads when he should be going to ask his boss, the Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng, for the allocation for grass cutting. Who is he trying to fool?”
Lo, who is also Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP)’s assistant publicity chief and Batu Kitang assemblyman, revealed that one of his party members had gone to talikhidmat (service centre) to seek clarifications from the Public Works Department (JKR) and was told that the allocation from the federal government was not in.
“I know Chong kept asking me to step down as MPP chairman. Why should I when I have served the people in MPP honestly, unlike Chong who has been misleading the public. I believe Chong should step down as Deputy Minister (of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs) for making a misleading statement that JKR Sarawak has overspent the money.
“I ask if Chong has any interest at all for Sarawak and why he is siding Malaya to explain every issue that has cropped up when it was the federal grant that was curtailed. It is time Chong stand with Sarawakians and demand that Sarawak’s resources and rights under MA63 be returned to Sarawak without any compromise as promised under their election manifesto,” Lo asserted.
Lo added that MPP’s assessment rate collected annually is around RM22 million, and it is used to pay salaries for its 450 staff, grass cutting in MPP areas, clearing drains, sweeping the roads and maintaining drains.
“So, why should we use Sarawak ratepayer’s money to cut grass for our federal highway? This has always been the responsibility of the federal government,” he said. He reiterated that Sarawak contributed some RM15 billion to the federal coffer from its oil and gas resources this year alone.
“Chong has the cheek to ask Sarawakians to come up with more money to cut grass along our federal highway. Even the RM820 million provided by the federal government in previous years is barely enough to provide adequate maintenance services for our federal roads,” added Lo.
Lo was responding to complaints from members of the public about uncut grass along the Kuching-Serian Road, which has not been cut the last two months. — DayakDaily