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KUCHING, Nov 9: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has urged Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to reform the state government, including the State Assembly, in order to increase accountability and transparency.
This, he said, is to ensure that allocations in the Sarawak Budget would be used directly for the benefit of the people and not be abused to enrich only the elites of cronies linked to the state government.
Dr Yii suggested the appointment of an opposition leader or an opposition member in the State Assembly as the chairman of the State Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
“This is in line with the reforms the federal Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has initiated in Parliament with the appointment of Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, an Umno/BN MP, as Parliament’s PAC chairman,” he said in a statement today in response to the recent announcement that State Budget 2019 is the ‘biggest budget’ ever tabled by Sarawak.
The PAC, he explained, also holds the responsibility to “scrutinise the value for money”, examining the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of public spending and generally holds the government departments, public bodies and government-owned private companies providing public services and those civil servants and employees to account for the delivery of public services.
“The PAC then, led by the opposition, will then not have a conflict of interest to protect the government they represent but to carry out their duties without fear or favour, including referring civil servants or government officers in authority who abuse their positions to the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and censure those who fail to prevent wastage in government spending. This will also improve public confidence on the institution itself,” he reckoned.
Dr Yii also urged the state government to practise open tender for development projects so as to get the best value from the allocations and, more importantly, prevent irresponsible contractors or cronies from taking advantage to inflate prices of projects or even make false claims even though work has not been done.
“This is important, especially in view of alleged wastage and inflated prices of certain projects implemented in Sarawak by the state government, including the alleged bloated cost of RM31 billion for the musical fountain in front of the State Assembly, RM40 million to build SK Ulu Segan in Bintulu and RM48.2 million for SK Meludam in Betong among others,” he said.
The lack of infrastructure or development in Sarawak, he emphasised, was not just down to lack of allocations, but wastage, bad governance and corruption as well, which has to be addressed so that the potential of the budget could be fully enjoyed by the people of Sarawak.
“We do not want to see these development projects be used as a façade for cronies to profit and enrich themselves or use it as their personal ‘ATM’ at the expense of the people,” he stressed. — DayakDaily