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2009 Feb 1 - More shocking questions over the missing billion ringgit "special grant"<

SAPP: More shocking questions over the missing billion ringgit "special grant"

Kota Kinabalu (Feb 1, 2009): Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, Datuk Yong Teck Lee, said that the disclosure by the State Secretary Office on January 31 that the RM 1 billion special grant for Sabah announced by the Prime Minister last May was placed under the Prime Ministerís Department is a shocking revelation that disgraces the State BN government and exposes the BN Federal governmentís insincerity.

"There are reasons to believe that the State Secretaryís office was made to prepare this belated disclosure because none of the BN State Ministers or the Chief Minister himself wanted to be responsible to explain the missing RM 1 billion." added Yong.

"Everybody in government knows that any funds placed under the Implementation Co-ordination Unit (ICU) of the PM Department remains in federal hands. Projects under this ICU are still controlled by federal authorities. The ICU was the boss of the disbanded JPPS (Federal Department of Development Sabah). Since the RM 1 billion is placed under the ICU, then it means that there is no special grant to Sabah. 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 RM 1 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.

"It is also puzzling that if RM 200 million has been channeled to the SDO by the Prime Ministerís Department then how is it that Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department (Tan Sri Bernard Dompok) was not 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/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?", Yong asked.

"The impression earlier given to the Sabah people for the withholding of RM 1 billion was that the Federal Government wanted the Sabah Development Corridor to be formed before such special grants are disbursed to Sabah. Sections 7(b), 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. 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 Sabah Development Office 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 SEDIA then?" questioned Yong.


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