The past eight years have seen the state government allocating billions of ringgit to a secretive 'trust' under the guise of 'economic development'.
KUCHING: More than RM11 billion over the past eight years have gone missing from the Sarawak budget and the opposition believes the monies were channelled to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s family-run businesses and cronies of leaders.
Some RM11,3373,179,400 or about 50% of the RM23,281,380,913 over the past eight years have gone missing.
Disclosing this today, state DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said that since 2006, a secretive item titled ‘Government Contributions towards Approved Agencies Torts fund’ has appeared in the annual Sarawak’s budgets.
“Approximately 50% of the annual State Department Expenditure is allocated to this Trust fund.
“Why is the state government refusing to disclose the identities of those who have received the funds?
“Why has Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (Finance Minister) refused to disclose who these so-called ‘agencies’ receiving the ‘contributions’ from the government.
“All we were told is that the ‘approved agencies’ are corporate bodies, companies or organisations which have been approved in writing by the Chief Minister to promote economic, social or educational advancement of the state.
“It can be private companies or cronies or family companies who have received such fund.
“To many BN politicians, advancement of family business is often equated to ‘economic development of the state’.
“That is why hundreds of thousands of acres of state land have been alienated to the crony companies at as low as 10% of the prevailing market prices,” said Chong, who is the Kota Sentosa assemblyman and Bandar Kuching MP.
Chong said that the unaccountable fund went against the basic principle of parliamentary democracy where every single sen spent by the government must be accounted for.
“Here we have almost 50% of the development budget expenditure unaccounted for. The answers given by the government to our questions raised during Dewan Undangan Negeri meetings were just sweeping statements.
“We have become very suspicious of the government’s attitude on this amount. We are launching a campaign as we want to hold the government responsible for the money that have been taken away from the people,” he said alluding to the flyers that the party was distributing.
The flyer printed in Chinese, English, Iban and Malay is the first of a series of flyers to be distributed.
Other flyers containing details of government’s alleged mismanagement of the state, family businesses, crony companies, corruption, and abuse of power will be distributed later to the voters as part of DAP’s election strategy.