The government's 'rolling plan' budget-after-budget masks missing millions.
KUCHING: Kota Kinabalu opposition MP Hiew King Chew is exasperated. He claims the federal goverment had promised ‘a long time ago’ to build a RM100 million bridge linking Pulau Bum Bum to Semporna in Sabah.
The bridge budgeted for under the 9th Malaysian Plan has not materialized.
In fact no ground activity in relation to project has allegedly been initiated to ‘safely’ link inhabitants in Pulau Bum Bum to Semporna.
Until today, Pulau Bum Bum inhabitants brave a precarious ride across the open seas to Semporna.
In parliament last month, Hiew asked the Works Ministry about the bridge and was shocked to learn that it would have to be ‘proposed’ to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister’s Department and that it would be put on a ‘rolling plan’ under the 10th Malaysian Plan.
“Why is the bridge being put under the ministry’s rolling plan under the RMK10. Where has the RM100 million gone?” asked Hiew spewing a litany of questions that went unanswered.
Instead the ministry explained that a valuation report was done to evaluate the maximization on ‘value for money’ and the best way to execute the project.
The project, the ministry said, involved the construction of a 1.45 kilometres bridge and a double-laned 8 km road on the island as per JKR standard R5.
Hiew said the ministry also disclosed that on the ‘rolling plan’ was the aim to improve the current jetty in Pulau Bum Bum, which incidentally is the largest island in Semporna.
This irked Hiew even further because jetties, not just in Pulau Bum Bum, but all over Sabah are a painful reminder of the government’s absolute negligence.
During the Baru Sapi parliamentary by-elections in November last year PKR candidate Ansari Abdullah twice plunged into the sea when the jetty collapsed on two separate occasions.
At the time campaigning BN candidate Linda Tsen promised to prioritize jetty maintainance.
Unfortunately promises made are often not kept and last month Tsen herself plunged into the sea when a jetty she was standing on while visiting her Batu Sapi constituency collapsed under her feet.
‘Rolling plan’ for jetty
‘The jetty should have improved a long time ago. Why are they putting it under the ‘rolling plan’ now?” he asked yet again.
Hiew also highlighted the fact that there was no proper ferry service between Pulau Bum Bum and Semporna.
Commuters have to risk the short stretch across the open sea on precarious looking boats, barges and sampans.
“The question is why is there no government-run ferry service in operation here.
“Until today the people risk their lives crossing the sea and ferrying their vehicles (motorbikes mostly),” he said.
Hiew suggested that the government put in place a proper and safe ferry service between Pulau Buma Bum and Semporna to meet the immediate needs of the people.
“Lets us not have to wait another 10 years for a ferry service.
“But then this is typical evidence of the government. It has once again failed to take care the well being of the people in Sabah.
“We in Sabah are seriously lacking in good infrastructures. Should we continue to suffer?
“This coming election is the chance to fight back and look for change, because we are not third class citizens!” he said.
Semporna comes under the parliamentary purview of Umno vice-president and Cabinet minister Shafie Apdal.