Questions raised over RM388m govt complex


By Queville To, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: The state government has been urged to explain the urgency and lack of transparency in awarding a RM388 million contract to build a Sabah State Administrative Centre (Phase 1) at Likas Bay.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) information chief Chong Pit Fah said this was only appropriate since Sabah, which has been declared the poorest state in the country, has more pressing matters to solve.

“What real benefit does it bring to the rakyat of Sabah? Certainly the funds of such magnitude could be put to better use to eradicate poverty and to improve the infrastructure in the state, rather than for a lavish office for the ministers,” he said.

The decision to go ahead with the mega project has raised questions over the true financial status of the state government given that it had issued a RM544 million bond in 2009 to raise capital for the Sabah Development Bank, a clear testimony that the government was cash-strapped.

The state Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition government under Chief Minister Musa Aman has however claimed it has RM2 billion in reserves.

According to local Chinese vernacular newspapers, Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister, Edward Yong has also questioned the timing of the project.

Chong agreed with the assistant minister’s assessment. “Why now? Is it because this project is being used to channel political funds for the BN?” he asked in a statement issued here yesterday.

He said the state government should be more prudent in spending public money.