Where did RM2 bln slated for 11MP projects in Sarawak go to, asks state PAC chief

The Borneo Post - - Front Page - Sa­muel Aubrey

KUCHING: More than RM2 bil­lion worth of fed­eral projects ap­proved for Sarawak un­der the cur­rent 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) had been can­celled, post­poned and placed un­der ‘Keep In View’ (KIV) since Pakatan Hara­pan (PH) came to power, the Sarawak State Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly was told yes­ter­day.

Aidel Lari­woo (GPS-Sadong Jaya), who is also the Pub­lic Ac­counts Commi ee (PAC) Sarawak chair­man, said there was sus­pi­cion that the funds meant for these projects had been di­verted else­where for other pur­poses.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the af­fected projects in­cluded 13 ma­jor ones such as the Batang Igan, Batang Lu­par and Batang Ram­bun­gan bridges, a Type-5 health clinic and sev­eral treat­ment plants.

“Re­gard­less of which coali­tion that forms the gov­ern­ment, the fund­ing for these projects is al­ready there. The ceil­ing al­lo­ca­tion for the Malaysia Plan is for a pe­riod of five years, and fur­ther distribute­d un­der the Mid-Term Rolling Plan.

“So this means that ba­si­cally the al­lo­ca­tion (for these projects) is al­ready there, but sud­denly the al­lo­ca­tion be­came ‘ kosong’ (zero),” he told re­porters a er hav­ing de­liv­ered his de­bate speech at the DUN.

Asked if the funds could have been di­verted to build the Sarawak–Sabah Link Road (SSLR) launched on Tues­day, Aidel said this should not be the case as Sarawak de­served the funds more, be­ing the largest con­trib­u­tor to the na­tion’s cof­fers all this while.

Mo­ments a er that, Gabun­gan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Youth chief Ger­ald Ren­tap Jabu, who was also at the press con­fer­ence, in­ter­jected – say­ing that Works Minister Baru Bian, who launched the SSLR project, should serve Sarawak’s in­ter­ests first.

“In 2017, LNG (liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas) ex­tracted from the shores of

Bin­tulu was worth RM41.1 bil­lion. But where’s the money? The money is di­verted else­where,” he said.

Ear­lier in de­bat­ing the 2020 State Bud­get, Aidel ques­tioned why PH min­is­ters and elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Sarawak dared not ques­tion ‘their bosses in Putrajaya’ re­gard­ing the can­celled projects in Sarawak.

He also ques­tioned why PH did not hon­our its elec­tion prom­ise to de­fer re­pay­ment of Na­tional Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Fund Cor­po­ra­tion (PTPTN) loans for bor­row­ers earn­ing less than RM4,000 a month.

“In this re­gard, we should thank our Chief Minister, who an­nounced a RM30-mil­lion ini­tial fund to as­sist Sarawakian grad­u­ates se le their ed­u­ca­tion loans, as well as to as­sist Sarawakian students who can­not ob­tain any stu­dent loan,” he said.

THE Sarawak Mi­cro Credit Scheme, to be kicked off next year, would be of­fer­ing a max­i­mum loan of RM50,000 to each ap­pli­cant, the DUN was told yes­ter­day.

As­sis­tant Minister of In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­dus­try, In­dus­trial Ter­mi­nal and En­tre­pre­neur De­vel­op­ment Datuk Mohd Nar­o­den Ma­jais said the new scheme would be open to all en­trepreneur­s in Sarawak.

“The max­i­mum loan is RM50,000 for each en­tre­pre­neur. For those ap­ply­ing for a loan worth RM10,000, a two per cent ad­min­is­tra­tion fee will be charged. For loans of more than RM10,000, it will be based on de­clin­ing in­ter­est,” he said in a re­ply to Ripin La­mat (GPS-Lam­bir) dur­ing the ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion.

Nar­o­den said en­trepreneur­s in Sarawak, in­clud­ing those en­gaged in co age in­dus­try, could ap­ply for the scheme on­line.

He added that the ap­proval pro­cess would take be­tween two weeks and 30 days.

On Mon­day, in tabling the 2020 State Bud­get, Chief Minister Datuk Pat­inggi Abang Jo­hari Tun Openg an­nounced that RM30 mil­lion would be set aside for the new ini­tia­tive next year.

“The new scheme will pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to en­trepreneur­s for their busi­ness ex­pan­sion and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion,” said Abang Jo­hari, who is also the Finance and Eco­nomic Plan­ning Minister.

He said the tar­get groups of the scheme would be Sarawakian­s, both Bu­mi­put­eras and non-Bu­mi­put­eras, re­sid­ing and op­er­at­ing their busi­nesses in Sarawak.

Abang Jo­hari added that the new ini­tia­tive would also be for those from the B40 (low-in­come house­hold) group, as well as mi­cro or small en­trepreneur­s who had been in busi­ness for at least six months.

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