KUCHING: The findings in the recent Auditor-General’s report nonetheless point to serious mismanagement issues and poor financial oversight which the Sarawak government departments or agencies that were faulted must answer, Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian said today.
Baru, who is also the state assemblyman for Ba Kelalan, was most interested in what the Sarawak Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has to say on its financial mismanagement.
In the Auditor-General’s report, HDC was found to have paid out RM2.88 million to two contractors for paint jobs which they had not done.
The report also found certain procurement were not done in accordance with the provisions of the applicable rules.
It found there was an advance payment of RM16.06 million for a road upgrading project in Sibu that was made without authorisation, resulting in the government incurring interest charges of RM1.77 million.
Then there was a payment of RM30.40 million that was made without verification by the officer, while payments amounting to RM20.77 million were unsupported by payment certificates.
Baru said HDC, that was tasked with providing affordable housing for the rakyat, had seemingly been completely irresponsible with the state’s money and resources.
“What action is the government going to take as a result of the AG’s Report?” Baru asked in his media conference in Kuching today.
“Someone has to be held responsible, and I hope that this revelation will not go the way of other past AG’s reports where there is little or no action taken to address the problems or to hold the relevant persons to account,” he said.
Another agency that was also faulted in the report was the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) over the construction of the new wing of its property, the Riverside Majestic Hotel in Kuching city.
The report the new wing failed to be completed despite seven extensions amounting to 758 days which in turn had pushed the project’s cost by RM8.07 million, an increase of 13.5%.
In addition, liquidated and ascertained damages (LAD) were not imposed for work which was delayed by 148 days, which if paid would have been in the amount of RM2.09mil.
Baru said the project cost overrun and the reason for not imposing the LAD charges needs to be explained.
He said the financial management of the Sarawak Museum and the state legislative assembly were also found to be less than satisfactory.
“With the building of the new museum complex, it is even more crucial that financial transparency, accountability and competency be maintained without exception,” he said.
PKR’s opposition partner, DAP, said bad governance should not be ignored in Sarawak’s quest for greater autonomy
DAP spokesman, Dr Kelvin Yii, said the lack of financial allocation from the federal government to the state may have been lacking, but bad management, wastage and bad governance led to wastage which in turn pushed the state to be behind in development.
Questions of course have to be asked where did the money go and will these upgrading projects be carried out or not since the payment was made in advance without proper authorisation, the special assistant to Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen said.
“Will the state government hold these contractors accountable or will they somehow escape scot free?
“The Sarawak state government cannot wash their hands over this matter.”
Yii said if all the money were put to proper use for the good of the people, all the dilapidated schools it could be repaired and upgraded, build more clinics in the rural areas.-dayakdaily.com