Monday, September 18, 2017

SIMON SIAH: PRS YOUTH USING DUD AMMO IN TARGET PRACTICE


PRESS STATEMENT
14 SEPTEMBER 2017

PRS Information Chief Andy Lawrence should try to employ some logic in the attempted defence of his party chief, otherwise he is merely shooting blank bullets, leaving him and his boss no better off than when they started.

Baru Bian had reason to criticise the Jiwa Murni road. He has seen the roads for himself, and he was also quoting from the Auditor General’s Report 2016, which is a public document. The AG had said that the roads were badly built, and the safety aspects were less than satisfactory. If the AG had seen the roads in Ba’ Kelalan, he would have been even more critical. The objective of the government was to provide road connectivity, which is met when the roads are in mint condition. Once the roads have become impassable, after a few months or a year at the most (in the case of Ba’ Kelalan and Marudi) the objective has failed. Why should the government continue to pay money for projects that have failed to meet their objectives?

Suggesting that the government should repair the roads is well and good, but Andy should know that infrastructure is in the federal list, and the oft-heard reply to such requests is that there is no budget from the federal government for repairs, and this has been said by Minister Michael Manyin in the DUN in reply to Baru Bian’s queries.

To then suggest that the Selangor government should pay for our roads shows that Andy Lawrence has little understanding of the concept of federalism. All states and Sabah and Sarawak contribute taxes to the federal coffers, and the federal government is supposed to allocate funds to them according to their needs, in the national budget.

If he had bothered to do just superficial research, Andy would know that Selangor and Penang contribute the most tax per capita, but have received next to nil allocations from the federal government. In April this year, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said that in 2013, Penang only received 0.07 per cent and Selangor 0.31 per cent of the federal budget from Putrajaya. Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah was reported to have said that the federal government blocked all funding to Selangor after the federal Opposition took over the state in 2008.

Not only that, in March this year, the federal government stopped federal funding of even the small small-scale infrastructure projects at the local council level, in Selangor constituencies outside of BN control.

This sabotage by the BN/UMNO government is to punish the people of Selangor and the voters of the opposition, and also because of lack of funds due to the mismanagement and misappropriation of our funds by the PM and his BN/UMNO government, with which Andy and his boss seem to be proud to be associated.

Due to the neglect by the federal government, Selangor and Penang have to depend on their own funds for their own expenditures and projects. Why should they subsidise development in Sarawak, a fixed deposit of the BN? Andy should question his loyalty and that of his party to the BN coalition instead of simply shooting without applying his mind or logic to the bigger picture.

Simon Siah
Deputy AMK Youth Chief, KEADILAN Sarawak

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