KOTA KINABALU: A former Barisan Nasional leader has described the Warisan-led Sabah government’s about-turn on two mega projects in the state as an acknowledgement of the previous administration’s foresight.
PBS information chief Joniston Bangkuai said the new government’s inconsistent stand has raised the eyebrows of many, including those who voted for them in the May 9 polls last year.
“At the rate of the flip-flop decisions being made, this Warisan-led coalition state government should be known as a ‘U-turn government’.
“The government’s U-turn on the Papar Dam, previously known as Kaiduan Dam, and the Tanjung Aru Eco-Development projects are actually an open acknowledgement that the previous government had the foresight to hasten Sabah’s economic development,” he said here today.
Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal earlier today denied Warisan was ever against the controversial TAED, saying the plan was now to scale down the multi-billion ringgit project.
The Warisan president acknowledged there were strong objections to the mega-project, mostly from NGOs, but pointed out that “what is important is for us to look into the interests of all”.
Bangkuai said Warisan and its Pakatan Harapan allies, DAP and PKR, had campaigned against these projects prior to the 14th general election, exploiting them as their main issues.
“They were telling the people these projects were of no benefit to them and the state.
“But now, these very same people have made a total change in their stand and are telling the people that these projects must be continued in view of the immense benefits to the state.
“This is ironic and is tantamount to admitting that they were wrong for objecting to the developments previously,” said the Kiulu assemblyman.
Bangkuai also wondered why NGO leaders, who are now part of the government, have gone silent on the matter.
“They scrutinised and tirelessly opposed the proposed dam project during the previous state administration.
“Why are they not speaking up now? Do they know something that we don’t know?” he said, adding that the public deserves to know the reasons why these leaders had a change of heart.
Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Peter Anthony was reported earlier this week as saying that the Papar Dam project would proceed albeit in a new area.
He added that the dam was necessary to cater for the projected hike in water supply demand due to an increased population as well as the TAED project.
This goes against a statement by Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong, who is also the Tanjung Aru assemblyman, in February 2017, that TAED would be scrapped if Warisan were to come to power.
Wong told local media yesterday that he was never against the project and assured the state government would not compromise when it comes to protecting the interests of the people in Sabah.