PH parliamentary coordinators ‘vote-buying move’, says Sarawak minister

PBB vice-president Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (left) has slammed Baru Bian’s appointment of PH parliamentary coordinators in opposition-held seats.

KUCHING: A Sarawak minister has criticised the appointment of Pakatan Harapan parliamentary coordinators in the state, saying it is part of the coalition’s attempt to buy votes for the coming state elections.

Yesterday, Baru Bian, chairman of the state development action council for the federal government, appointed 19 parliamentary coordinators to represent the PH government in parliamentary seats held by the opposition.

He said the coordinators’ role was to ensure that programmes and projects under the federal government’s five-year development plan were carried out smoothly.

They would also be responsible for strengthening the relationship between the federal government and the people, especially since the state was governed by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

However, PBB vice-president and Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the appointment of parliamentary coordinators was similar to that of the Federal Village Community Management Council (MPKKP) established by the PH government in Sarawak.

The Asajaya assemblyman said the appointment of the coordinators and council members was disguised as disseminating information to the public when, in reality, they were to “inject public funds to buy votes at the grassroots level”.

“I am unsure what the PH government and Baru have in mind when they appointed the parliamentary coordinators to monitor projects in the state.

“However, looking at the names and personalities of those being appointed, I can only say that this is the PH government’s backdoor attempt to justify payment of public funds to their cronies whom they have in mind to contest in the elections,” he told FMT.

Describing the move as “despicable” and “irresponsible”, Karim said he hoped the people would realise PH’s “ulterior motive to split Sarawakians and take over the state government”.

Meanwhile, the committee members of the PKR Batang Sadong branch said they rejected the appointment of Jamilah Baharuddin as the parliamentary coordinator for the constituency.

They said they had not been consulted on the appointment.

“We were made to understand the nomination was done with vested interests to boost Jamilah’s image and enable her to contest in Simunjan in the state elections”, they said in a statement.

Describing this as an abuse of power, they said the choice of the coordinators for Batang Sadong as well as Petra Jaya had “elements of cronyism and nepotism” as both were linked to the Sarawak leadership council (MPN) deputy chairman Baharuddin Mokhsen.

The parliamentary coordinator for Petra Jaya is Nurhanim Mokhsen.

Jamilah is Baharuddin’s daughter, and Nurhanim his sibling, they said, adding that Baharuddin was seen at the appointment of the parliamentary coordinators yesterday.

The committee members also said Jamilah was not from Batang Sadong.

“We are of the opinion that only a person from Batang Sadong can understand the needs of the people in the constituency. We can accept any PH leader to be the parliamentary coordinator for Batang Sadong as long as he or she is from the area.

“We had nominated Batang Sadong branch chairman Piee Ling as the parliamentary coordinator at the first branch meeting in October 2018 as well as at the branch annual general meeting,” the statement added.