Wednesday February 13, 2013
DAP’s accusation gone too far
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: The allegations by the Opposition that billions of state budget money had gone missing into a ‘black hole’ have been very damaging to the state’s image, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
“I don’t mind personal criticisms against me. I don’t take it personally but the Opposition have made a serious mistake in their accusation that billions under the state Budget had gone missing into a black hole.
“This opposition person is still young, but he has gone too far in his accusation. We in the state government have put the money into a savings. The accusations that we have wasted the money is very damaging to our image.
“This sort of allegations can affect investors’ confidence. It is damaging to the state’s future,” he said when addressing prominent business leaders, politicians and community leaders at a Chinese New Year dinner organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations of Miri (FCAM) on Monday night.
This is the first time that Taib had publicly touched on the allegations by the DAP, which had been alleging since early last month that RM11bil in state Budget money from over the past eight years had gone missing into a black hole.
The party in their public flyers had inked down details of the state development expenditures that they said had gone missing.
They claimed that the money had been channelled into “some fishy funds”.
The party’s state secretary and Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen had also claimed that the massive amount of money if correctly used to serve the people would have been used to upgrade the roads in the state, including the rural roads and the Pan Borneo highway.
Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said the money could have also been used to build low-costs houses to solve the squatter woes in the state and spent on easing the burdens of the marginalised people in the state.
Addressing some 1,000 people at the dinner at a hotel here, Taib, who is also state Barisan chairman and Finance Minister, however, did not elaborate on the details of the savings where the billions had been placed.
He advised the people to be extra cautious when it came to choosing a government, and not to simply vote for people who kept on criticising.
“I don’t want to just keep talking about politics. But I have to make it very clear that regardless of our political views, we must always bear in mind that we need a strong government to lead us,” adding, “I also want to see a strong government leading Sarawak after I have gone.”
Taib paid tribute to the Head of State Tun Salahuddin Abang Barieng for playing a pivotal role in uniting the state’s multiracial people.
He said Sarawakians should be thankful that they could continue to enjoy peace and harmony when half the world was facing turbulent times.
“The fact that we can openly enjoy every major festivity like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Christmas and all the other festivals is a testimony of the good leadership that we have,” he said.
FCAM chairman Hii Teck Yung in his speech earlier thanked the state leaders for their care and concern for the people in the state.
He said that Miri was on the road towards greater socio-economic developments and that the inland oil and gas discovery last month by Nippon Oil and Petronas would certainly usher in another era of robust growth for the years to come.