Sabah MP blames Putrajaya over RM8 billion ‘loss’ under ex-rural minister

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KUALA LUMPUR: A Sabah MP today demanded that the federal government compensate the state’s “loss” of RM8 billion which he claimed was misappropriated from the funds of the rural and regional development ministry.

Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan) said the federal government had committed a wrong by not taking action against a former rural and regional development minister.

He alleged that RM8 billion was misused by the Semporna MP when he headed the ministry.

“We read about it in the newspapers and heard it on TV but I am very surprised that no action was taken.

“The federal government has committed a wrong. We want to be compensated by RM8 billion as the Sabah people are angry,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.

Semporna MP and former rural and regional development minister, Shafie Apdal, was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in October last year over alleged irregularities involving RM1.5 billion allocated to his ministry for rural development in Sabah.

Shafie, who is now the president of opposition Parti Warisan Sabah, is out on RM100,000 bond.

Meanwhile, Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told the house that the allegations against Shafie were still being investigated by MACC.

“If there is a case, it will be submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action,” he said.

On the RM8 billion compensation to Sabah, Ismail Sabri said he would bring the matter to the government’s attention.

About 350 projects during Shafie’s tenure at the ministry were reportedly scrutinised by MACC for possible irregularities.

The RM1.5 billion allocation probed by MACC formed part of the RM7.5 billion budgeted during Shafie’s time at the ministry to develop infrastructure for water and power supply and roads in Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Kota Belud, Ranau, Beaufort, Keningau, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan from 2009 till 2015.

MACC questioned more than 45 people and checked 72 companies in Sabah. About RM170 million worth of assets and funds kept in bank accounts owned by companies linked to the projects were reportedly frozen by MACC.