Sarawak keeping RM625m of federal funds in the bank — Chong

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 2: Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen alleges that instead of using up federal allocations for road repairs or maintenance, the Sarawak government kept them in the bank as cash.

Chong said from 2005 to 2017, a total of RM625 million of funds allocated for road upgrading were not spent but kept in the bank as cash, earning zero interest.

“For the majority of the years, they (state government) did not spend fully the money,” he said when debating the TYT’s speech in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) and again at a press conference on the sidelines of the DUN sitting today.

He alleged that in 2005, the allocation for road repairs and upgrading was RM106 million, but only RM93 million was spent. The following two years, the figures stood at RM209 million (RM178 million spent) and RM245 million (RM185 million spent), respectively.

“(The amount) culminated to excess money of RM625 million by 2017, sitting in the bank,” said Chong, who is also Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman.

He pointed out that when residents of housing estates appealed to the local councils, state government or state Public Works Department to repair roads that are sinking or had potholes, the most common excuse given by the authorities was “no allocation”.

“But the allocation was actually sitting in the bank. It’s RM625 million, and worst of all, it is not earning any interest,” said Chong.

Chong showing the account statement ‘Penyata Akaun Kumpulan Wang Penyelenggaraaan Jalan Raya Negeri’ at a press conference on the sidelines of the DUN sitting today (May 2, 2019).

Chong, who is also Stampin MP and Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, said had the RM600 million been put in the bank to earn interest, it could mean another RM100 million or RM200 million in income that could be used for road repairs.

He also hit out at the state government for its delay in tabling the full set of accounts and financial statements each year as required by the law until 2017.

“Under the law, the government is supposed to table these accounts in DUN for DUN to scrutinise. (It has) not done for the past 12 years,” said Chong.

He said in 2012, the Auditor General Chambers (AG) had issued a statement that DUN did not comply with legal requirements, as it did not table a clear set of accounts when presenting the budget in DUN.

“Despite the note from AG, it was not done until 2017,” said Chong.

He further pointed out that even for the 2017 accounts that were tabled, there were no attachments of A, B and C, which were mentioned in the financial statements proper. — DayakDaily