New treasurer gives Sabah finances clean bill of health

Sabah Treasurer Rusdin Riman (front, right) with deputy treasurer Mary Angela Sipaun (second right) and other state treasury staff in Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU: Newly appointed Sabah Treasurer Rusdin Riman has given the state’s finances a clean bill of health.

Rusdin expects the state’s 2018 coffers to show a slight improvement compared to last year.

“We are in a good position, that’s all I can say for now.

“Looking at the financial report for 2017, we have almost RM4 billion.

“The statement for 2018 indicates a slight increase but I cannot say how much as we haven’t carried out an audit yet,” he said after addressing staff of the state treasury here today.

He said that according to the schedule, the draft of the financial accounts would be ready by the end of January for an audit to begin in February.

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal had previously drawn flak from the opposition on the state of Sabah’s finances.

At a sitting of the state assembly late last year, former Umno assemblyman Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan (Apas) accused Shafie of making a U-turn on the issue.

Shafie had previously claimed that Sabah was riddled with debt, but went on to reveal that the state finances were healthy and adequate during the sitting.

The Warisan president had accused the previous Barisan Nasional government under Musa Aman of not being forthcoming about the state’s financial status.

He claimed that Sabah’s finances were in shambles as it did not have any reserves in its coffers.

However, according to Nizam, now an independent assemblyman, his winding-up speech at the state assembly last year showed Sabah had reserves of RM3.305 billion, which was “adequate to meet daily needs”.

Meanwhile, Rusdin said most of the top positions in many government departments and state ministries had been filled as part of a major reshuffle to improve the quality of services.

“This reshuffle is to place the right officers in the right place. We’ve never had a major reshuffle before.

“All in all, about 10 department heads were involved,” he said.

Rusdin said the new management at the Treasury was working to improve services to its clients.

He acknowledged that there were issues that had to be resolved, including payment delays to companies and delay in settling daily wages to staff.

“This new management will look for answers to fix the weaknesses. The chief minister has asked me to look for solutions,” he said.