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Pairin must explain ‘water politics’

 | June 18, 2012

Why does Sabah need a 'multi-million ringgit loan' for a water supply project approved under the 9MP and which the state assembly was told in 2010, as being 'on schedule'?

KOTA KINABALU: The multi-million ringgit ‘loan’ by the federal government to Sabah for a water supply project in the interior of the state has come under fire from a state assembly representative.

Luyang representative Melanie Chia said deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan has some explaining to do as the state assembly had been told in 2010 that the project was on schedule and would be completed by next year for RM25 million less.

She also wants the state government to explain why the federal government is ‘lending’ the money to the state instead of allocating funds to improve water supply in the Sabah’s interior district.

Providing adequate treated water supply to the interior of Sabah and much of rural areas has always been a concern.

In 2007 the state government announced that it would improve water supply to Bingkor and Keningau.

In 2010 when the matter was discussed in the state assembly, Pairin, who is also in charge of infrastructure development, said the Keningau Water Supply Project was already approved under the Ninth Malaysia Plan with an initial loan of RM10 million from the federal government.

“This amount was be used to conduct feasibility study and detailed design which was expected to be completed in May 2010 and construction work was then proposed to start in early 2011.

“The implementation of this project was expected to take 24 months at the total project costs of RM210 million,” Chia recalled.

Why does ‘flushed’ Sabah need a loan?

She thus said she was shocked to note that Pairin who is also the MP of Keningau, had not discharged his duty at all and worse still had to beg the Prime Minister who ‘pitied’ him and fellow Sabahans in the interior by giving the state government a loan of RM235 million.

“The long overdue water supply to the people in the interior of Sabah should not be used by the BN government as a carrot in view of the coming general election.

“The water woe in the interior is a blatant example that the BN government has been doing only lip-service!” she said.

Further, why must Sabah beg for a loan from the federal government to improve water supply in the interior of Sabah, when the state government under Chief Minister Musa Aman has repeatedly boasted about its strong financial position?

Chia, the women’s wing chief of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), said it was disturbing to note that the state government had to beg for help from the federal government for something as basic as water supply.

“Why do we need a loan? Has it not been repeatedly announced by the leaders in the BN government that this government under the leadership of Chief Minister Musa Aman is financially very sound? Some of them had even said it is in its ‘the best ever’ position.

“If Sabah’s financial position is indeed flush and glorious, why does Sabah need to be given a loan to do basic infrastructure like water supply? she asked.

Why lend and not give money?

Chia also noted that the state government had recently raised over half a billion ringgit by issuing a government bond.

“How was the money raised by the RM544 million bond used?” she asked.

She also said that as both the federal and state government’s are BN controlled, the federal government should allocate the amount needed instead of lending it, considering the fact that the federal government is gaining billions of ringgit in revenue from Sabah.

“Why can’t the federal government directly allocate the fund to the state government?

“Why lend and not give the money?” she asked.

Chia said it was humiliating to read that the prime minister only approved the the loan because Pairin, who has been the MP for Keningau for decades, had over the past several months been “bugging him” about the matter.


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