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