YONG QUESTIONS THE PLACING OF RM 1 BILLION GRANT
SAPP President Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee has questioned the decision to place the RM1 billion special grant for Sabah under the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister’s Department.
He said everybody in the Government knows that any funds placed under the ICU, still remains in the hands of Federal authority. “As such, projects under this ICU are still controlled by federal authorities. The ICU was the boss of the disbanded JPPS (Federal Department of Development Sabah),” said Yong yesterday.
“It only means that allocations may be made from the existing 9th Malaysia Plan and ordinary budget. As SAPP has pointed out several times before, there was no mention of any RM1 billion special grant to Sabah in the 2009 Federal annual budget or 2008 supplementary budgets or even the extra budget under the economic stimulus plan,” he said in a statement.
Yong was commenting on a recent statement by the State Secretary Office that the ICU of the PM’s Department has channeled RM200 million of the RM1 billion allocated to Sabah via the State Development Office (SDO).
Yong said that it was also puzzling that the RM200 million has been channeled to the SDO by the Prime Minister’s Department, but Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok was not even aware of such special grants.
“And as disclosed by the State Secretary, RM2.1 million has been allocated to Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen, then how is it that the Sabah Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Rural Development Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan seems to be in the dark? Is it not that same Ministry of Rural Development that is responsible for Assemblymen funds?”
He said that the impression earlier given to the Sabah people for the withholding of RM1 billion was that the Federal Government wanted the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) formed before such special grants are disbursed to Sabah.
He pointed out Section 7(b and 14 (b) and 15 (a) of the Sabah Development and Investment Authority Enactment 2009 (SEDIA) expressly provided for the receipt of grants and funds from the Federal Government. This is the only function that significantly differentiates SEDIA from other existing statutory bodies. he said.
“But two weeks after the SEDIA enactment was passed by the State Legislative Assembly, the Government announced that RM 200 million of the RM 1 billion has been channeled to the SDO instead of SEDIA. If this is the case, then the same funds could have been channeled to the federal Education Department, Health Services Department. federal Public Works Department (JKR) and so on What is the role of SEDL then?” Yong asked.