A veteran Sabah consumer and human rights activist urges the federal government to channel its funds to the state government for a more effective use of the allocations.
KOTA KINABALU : Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has been urged to pay closer attention on how federal agencies and ministries spend public money on so-called infrastructure projects and people development programmes in Sabah and Sarawak.
This is in view of the increasing number of complaints from people that many federal agencies operating in Sabah carry out “useless” projects.
Sabah’s top consumer and human right activist, Patrick Sindu claimed that such happenings had been going on for years and that such projects in the past had come under the cover of the respective constituencies’ Barisan Nasional representatives.
He said it was an open secret how officers from these federal agencies worked in cohorts with the respective elected reps.
“These claims of useless projects are rampant, using federal funds and federal agencies with the officers working with the respective Yang Berhormats and the District Officers.
“I think the Prime Minister needs to oversee how public money is spent by these federal agencies in Sabah, and not to merely close eyes on what these public officers do or did not do.
“There should be thorough planning and follow ups to these federal projects.
“What is the use of just spending federal funds year in year out without achieving any target?
“Take fishing and padi output for example. How much had been spent on fishermen and padi growers in Sabah, compare that to prices of fish in the market, have the prices gone down indicating more fishes were caught with bigger boats?
“Has Sabah reached even 35% of self-sufficiency in rice?” Sindu asked.
He also called on Najib to listen to the calls by Sabah Cabinet for federal funds to be channelled directly to the state government instead of trying to compete with state agencies.
He cited rubber, fishing, padi and small infrastructural projects as examples of projects that should be developed by state using federal funds.
Sabah Umno deputy head Salleh Said Keruak has been the most vocal in raising this issue lately, calling on federal ministries, especially on rural development, education and housing, to channel these funds come to state agencies, for better results.