Why debate in media when Soon Koh had his chance to argue contingency fund issue in DUN, questions Uggah

Uggah (left) and Wong.

KUCHING, May 12: Second Finance Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas asserts his predecessor Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh should have presented the latter’s argument on the state’s contingency funds during yesterday’s Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) one-day sitting instead of doing it through the media.

Uggah who is also Deputy Chief Minister insisted that there is RM500 million allocated as contingency funds in the Sarawak 2020 Budget.

“Let me just say that Datuk Seri Wong should have been present during the said sitting. Had he bothered to attend the sitting, he would have been given a fair opportunity and allowed to seek clarification in the august House.

“The DUN, attended by lawmakers voted for by the rakyat, would have been the proper avenue for any discussion at the highest level.

“It is inappropriate to debate in the media with Datuk Seri Wong, which I feel to be a show of disrespect to the august House and its honourable members.

“However, for the information of the rakyat, I wish to state that there is an allocation of RM500 million in the Contingency Fund 2020, contrary to what is alleged by Datuk Seri Wong,” Uggah asserted in a press statement today.

Wong who was Second Finance Minister for 15 years until July 15, 2019 had recently issued a press statement criticising the Sarawak government’s finance management. Among his criticisms was that the Sarawak government did not have the relevant contingency funds under Budget 2020.

In response to Wong’s statement, Uggah when presenting his ministerial address at DUN yesterday, gave assurance that the Sarawak government has the contingency funds for Covid-19 aid and relief efforts, contrary to Wong’s allegations.

Expressing shock and alleging that Wong misled the public, Uggah emphasised that Wong’s assertion that the Sarawak government lacked funds to fight Covid-19 “did not occur and will not happen”.

Following Uggah’s ministerial statement in DUN, Wong who was absent from proceedings, issued a statement to rebut Uggah and challenged Uggah to repeat the remarks outside DUN.

The Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president also claimed that Uggah’s opening remarks at DUN describing the former as “out of touch” with the state’s finances was very unprofessional.

Wong continued to insist that there was no contingency funds provided in the Sarawak government’s 2020 Budget which can be used to support aid packages of more than RM2 billion. — DayakDaily