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‘RM388m can build 9,200 low-cost houses’ August 23, 2011

Posted by wong jimmy in Abuse, Cabinet.
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by Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Opposition assemblyman Jimmy Wong is set to table a motion in the coming State Legislative Assembly to debate a plan to build in the poorest state in Malaysia a state administration centre costing several hundred million ringgit.

The Sabah DAP chairman said he is objecting to the RM388-million centre because it goes against the government’s “people first” slogan and will bring no real benefit to the people.

“This big sum of money can be put to better use such as for infrastructure… in Sri Tanjung itself there is an urgent need for funds for flood mitigation, dam projects and the Tawau-Kalabakan-Sapulut road.

“I want to ask the Sabah government: is it ministers first or people first?” he said, adding that he hoped to get a favorable response for the motion.

He said it must be discussed and studied more closely because it involves the interest of the people of Sabah and has received objections from the public.

He suggested that the administration centre be based at the Sabah Foundation and Innoprise buildings as “both buildings belong to the people”.

“Do the people need another building or is it because the Chief Minister (Musa Aman) wants a building credited to his name?

“Let me remind the government that Sabah is still the poorest state in Malaysia and this money should be used to help the people.

“If a low-cost house costs RM42,000, the RM388 million can be used to build 9,200 units of low-cost houses for the hardcore poor housing programme.

“It can also benefit 1,290 elderly people under the ‘Bantuan Orang Tua’. Meet the basic needs of the people first… the building can come later.

“Can the government guarantee that with the Sabah Administrative Centre, things will get better for the people?

“Personally I don’t think so,” he said.

‘Lacking basic needs’

Wong wants the funds for the building to be used to solve urban congestion problems in Tawau.

“A coastal highway through Kampung Titingan to Mile 4, Apas Road, is needed and the people are waiting for one to be constructed.

“In fact, every time a meeting at the State Legislative Assembly is held, representatives of the people apply for funds for basic infrastructure.

“It goes to show that we are lacking in the basic needs of the people.”

Wong also proposed that the money be ploughed into efforts to increase rice production in Sabah, which could, in turn, reduce rice imports.

“The government has said it wanted to achieve the target of 60% of domestic rice production.

“Has the government achieved the target? Has the government successfully made Kota Belud and Kota Marudu a major rice producer in Sabah?

“This RM388 million can make it a reality.”

Those against the expensive project say the money should be used for more urgent things such as infrastructure repair, schools, hospitals, piped water and electricity, which the state is lacking.