RM1 mil Covid-19 aid not deposited into my account, says Sarawak assistant minister

Sarawak assistant minister Dr Annuar Rapaee (centre) says any claim that he is ‘controlling’ the Covid-19 funds is a ‘big lie’. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Sarawak assistant minister has refuted claims that RM1 million in Covid-19 aid from the state government was deposited into his service centre’s bank account.

Speaking to FMT on the claims, Dr Annuar Rapaee said the issue stemmed from the channelling of the RM200,000 allocation for all Sarawak assemblymen, regardless of whether they are in the government or opposition.

In the Sibu district, Annuar, the Nangka assemblyman, said there were five state constituencies including his, meaning the total allocation for the area was RM1 million.

The other state constituencies there are Bukit Asek (DAP), Dudong (PSB), Pelawan (DAP) and Bawang Assan (PSB).

“Initially, it was proposed internally that the allocations for the five constituencies be channelled to my service centre.”

This proposal, he said, was mentioned in a memo which has since been leaked, but Annuar says the proposal never materialised as the memo was retracted after Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg disagreed with it.

Annuar, the assistant minister of education, science and technological research, said the government then decided that the funds would be channelled to the divisional disaster management committees, which are led by divisional residents.

In the case of Sibu, the funds were channelled to the division’s disaster management committee head, divisional resident Charles Siaw.

“Elected representatives cannot head the divisional disaster management committees. So the money went to Siaw, not me or any other assemblyman or MP.”

He said how the funds were used was up to Siaw.

“What purchases are made, which vendors are chosen … even I don’t know. I am only managing the distribution of the aid for my area.”

So, Annuar said, any claim that he was “controlling” the funds was a “big lie”.

Annuar said he had explained the matter to opposition MPs and assemblymen in the district in a WhatsApp group.

“This WhatsApp group was set up by Bukit Assek assemblyman Irene Chang. They requested to add me into the group so that I can update them daily on Covid-19 matters in the area.

“Earlier today, I invited all of them to join me at 10am tomorrow to look at the divisional disaster management committee’s accounts so they can see for themselves who the RM1 million was banked to.”

He said he will also be inviting the press to join them tomorrow.