Thursday, December 10, 2015

Adenan told to act on MACC report that 3 state top executives have absolute power

December 10, 2015, Thursday

BARU Bian (PKR-Ba Kelalan) has urged Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, having shown himself to be a chief minister concerned for the welfare of the people of Sarawak, to act on the MACC Annual Report 2014 tabled in Parliament last week.
Baru, who is state PKR chairman, said the MACC Annual Report 2014 revealed that three top administrators in the Sarawak government have absolute power under sections 13(1) and 38 of the Sarawak Land Code in granting land approvals.
“These three are named as the Chief Minister, who is also the Minister of Planning and Resource Management I, the Minister of Planning and Resource Management II and the Deputy Chief Minister, who is also the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“What is even more damning is that the MACC found that this power was being manipulated to approve land applications,” he said in his debate speech on the State Budget 2016 at the State Legislative Assembly here yesterday.
With the revelation, Baru said the concern now is: “what does the state government intend to do about this damning report?”
Besides that, he questioned whether the government would take immediate steps to amend section 13(1) as recommended by the MACC to shift the power of granting land approval to an executive council.
Baru also expressed disappointment with the state government’s official web portal because in the tab ‘Visitors’ under the heading ‘Religion’, ‘The official religion in Sarawak is Islam’.
“I immediately wrote a letter to the State Secretary on July 24 this year to point out the error and asked for it to be rectified. I have an acknowledgement of receipt of my letter from the State Secretary’s office but until now, nothing has been done to rectify the error.”
Therefore, he requested Adenan to state the simple fact that Sarawak does not have an official religion although the state recognises that Islam is the religion of the federation.
“It is time that our citizens and civil servants know of this unique feature of Sarawak. This will also prevent the embarrassment of not knowing our rights and giving visitors the wrong information.”
He also queried whether the proposal to declare about 70 per cent of Ba Kelalan constituency as ‘Ulu Trusan Proposed Protected Forests’ was suspended for the time being or withdrawn totally.
Baru said a gazette to declare about 70 per cent of Ba Kelalan constituency as ‘Ulu Trusan Proposed Protected Forests’ was published in The Borneo Post on May 26, adding that on Aug 4, he handed a letter supported by over 3,000 people from his constituency opposing the said proposal to Adenan.
“On Aug 14, 2015, it was reported in The Borneo Post that the Chief Minister had ‘suspended’ the said proposal. On Aug 17, I wrote to the Chief Minister for clarification as to whether the said proposal was suspended or withdrawn.
“To date I have not received any reply. I therefore wish to ask if the said proposal is suspended for the time being or withdrawn totally.”
On Sarawak’s aim to increase the production of MD2 pineapple to meet the increased worldwide demand, Baru pointed out that Puneng Trusan is the ideal place for the growing of pineapple and he would like the government to include the area in their plans for pineapple production.
However, regarding the government’s intention to set up large scale MD2 pineapple plantations using imported planting material, he cautioned the government on risk of diseases associated with the importation of planting materials.
“I hope the minister is looking at the greatest detail of this matter and asking his staff to thoroughly research the implications before allowing the importation of huge quantities of planting material such as the MD2 pineapple from areas where the dreaded diseases exist.”

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