Lajim: Sabahans deserve to know where rural funds went


KOTA KINABALU: Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah president Lajim Ukin says the people deserve to know what actually happened to the billions allocated for projects in Sabah under former federal, rural and regional development minister Shafie Apdal.

In a statement issued today, Lajim said while his opposition party was against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government, it would not close an eye if any act of corruption was committed even though it involved a party which is now part of the opposition.

Lajim was commenting on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation of funds, amounting to RM1.5 billion, which it believed was siphoned off from funds allocated for rural development projects between 2009 and 2015.

Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) vice-president Peter Anthony is among three people now under remand to facilitate investigations into the case. Shafie is Warisan’s president.

“If something is wrong, it is wrong. We can’t just simply sweep it under the carpet,” Lajim said.

“Now, this period was during Shafie’s tenure as the relevant minister. I, like everyone else, want to know what happened to the money for these projects, related to water, roads and electricity.”

Based on what MACC is saying, Lajim said he now understood why the billions Shafie said had been provided for rural development had not benefited Sabah in a significant way.

“In many rural parts of Sabah, we have electrical poles without cables, water pipes without water and rural roads constructed in the middle of nowhere,” he said.

“If there were elements of corruption, it would make sense that rural projects in Sabah were not completed or abandoned and therefore failed to achieve their intended objectives of serving the people.

“Let MACC conduct its investigation into the irregularities of these rural projects because it involved billions that could have benefited so many rural and poor folks.”

Lajim also pointed out that after he left the BN government in 2012, he never had any problems with the MACC.

“When I left BN, I was at that time the federal deputy minister of housing and local government. I was also a deputy chief minister and cabinet minister of Sabah,” he said.

“I have never been called by the MACC. Neither has my house or office ever been raided by them.”