Thursday, May 19, 2011

No money to finish 9MP projects in Sabah?

The DAP is puzzled as to why
the state and federal governments
should delay implementing basic
infrastructure projects such as road,
electricity, water and drainage in Sabah.
KOTA KINABALU : The Sabah government is showing signs that it cannot implement hundreds of development projects identified and funded under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP)

According to Sabah DAP chief Jimmy Wong, over 400 projects have not been completed within the 9MP time frame.

“Can you imagine that the projects have not been completed under the 9MP and are now fitted into the 10th Malaysia Plan under the guise of a rolling plan, a brainchild of (Chief Minister) Musa Aman?” he asked.

He said that one could only deduce that this was caused either by poor, inefficient planning by the state and federal governments or that there was no money left to complete the projects.

“This so-called rolling plan is a clear sign of the government’s inefficiency and incapability,” he said.

Wong said that with basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and drainage lacking in the state, it was incomprehensible that the government was still delaying the implementation of these projects.

He blamed the lack of infrastructure as one of the main reasons business sectors such as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing have seen sluggish growth.

Wong invited Musa to travel with him, so that he could view the state’s poor infrastructure through the eyes of the opposition and the electorate.

He said the fact that senior state BN leaders such as Masidi Manjun and Bernard Dompok have openly talked about the poor state of affairs in Sabah indicated that something was not right somewhere.

“There is a limit to everyone’s tolerance.

“Issues like inadequate funding, worsening infrastructure, illegal immigrants, social decay and poor security are affecting their (Dompok and Masidi’s) conscience,” he added.

Too little, too late

On the call to revise the Petronas Act 1974 to allow Sabah to be granted more than the 5% it is now entitled to, Wong said it might be too little and too late as the resource has depleted.

He said the state BN government leaders spoke as if they had just woken up from a deep sleep, finally deciding that the existing 5% oil royalty given to Sabah was too meagre.

Wong said the state should get 50% of the money from oil extracted from the state, so that it could develop at its own pace without waiting for funding from the federal government.

“Sabah needs to focus on building a consolidated fund so that in the future, the interest earned will continue to help maintain the state,” he added.

While he welcomed the call by Dompok, who is Upko president and Federal Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, urging Musa’s government to initiate a request for amendments to the Petronas Act 1974, Wong doubted the government supported him.

Dompok had said that it was only proper that the state government moved to amend the Act and the MPs could follow it up and support it from there.

Wong noted that he had highlighted this issue in the State Legislative Assembly several times, but Musa had chided him for not understanding the issue.

Musa had at all times insisted that the federal government was taking care of Sabah on top of the 5% oil royalty.

Wong said that if the BN representatives refused to raise this matter in the next State Legislative Assembly sitting, he would do so.

“Then we will see who among the BN leaders are really serious about this request for amendment or revision of the Act or is all this just mere empty talk,” he said.

He reiterated Sabah DAP’s call urging the electorate to re-evaluate the performance of the Umno-led BN government in the state.

He also advised the people to visit the Pakatan Rakyat-led states like Penang and Selangor to find out for themselves how they are performing.

He said that in just three years after coming to power in Penang, the Pakatan government had put in place policies that have led to an economic boom and surplus budget as well as made progress in eradicating poverty.

“This is all about good governance,” he said.

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