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KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) information chief Andy Lawrence should employ some logic in the attempted defence of his party chief, otherwise he is merely shooting blank bullets, leaving him and his boss no better off than when they started, says Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak Deputy Youth Chief Simon Siah.
In a press statement today, Simon said state PKR chairman Baru Bian had reason to criticise the Long Luping-Ba Kelalan road which was built under the Jiwa Murni initiative as Baru has seen the roads for himself, and he was also quoting from the Auditor General’s Report 2016, which is a public document.
“The AG had said that the roads were badly built, and the safety aspects were less than satisfactory. If the AG had seen the roads in Ba Kelalan, he would have been even more critical. The objective of the government was to provide road connectivity, which is met when the roads are in mint condition.
“Once the roads have become impassable, after a few months or a year at the most (in the case of Ba’ Kelalan and Marudi) the objective has failed. Why should the government continue to pay money for projects that have failed to meet their objectives?” Simon questioned.
He also highlighted that infrastructure comes under the federal list and the oft-heard reply from the federal government to requests to repair roads was that there is no budget, which had also been said by Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin in the State Legislative Assembly in reply to Baru’s queries.
Simon said for Andy to then suggest that the Selangor government should pay for Sarawak roads shows that the latter has little understanding of the concept of federalism.
“All states and Sabah and Sarawak contribute taxes to the federal coffers, and the federal government is supposed to allocate funds to them according to their needs, in the national budget.”
He also pointed out that the federal opposition-held states of Selangor and Penang contribute the most tax per capita, but have received next to nil allocations from the federal government, calling it sabotage by the BN/UMNO government to punish the people of Selangor and voters of the opposition and a sign of lacking of funds to mismanagement and misappropriation by the Prime Minister and the BN/UMNO government.
“In April this year, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said that in 2013, Penang only received 0.07 per cent and Selangor 0.31 per cent of the federal budget from Putrajaya. Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah was reported to have said that the federal government blocked all funding to Selangor after the federal Opposition took over the state in 2008.
“Not only that, in March this year, the federal government stopped federal funding of even the small small-scale infrastructure projects at the local council level, in Selangor constituencies outside of BN control.
Simon added: “Due to the neglect by the federal government, Selangor and Penang have to depend on their own funds for their own expenditures and projects. Why should they subsidise development in Sarawak, a fixed deposit of the BN? Andy should question his loyalty and that of his party to the BN coalition instead of simply shooting without applying his mind or logic to the bigger picture.”