Hornbill Unleashed

August 4, 2017

Baru: Address shortcomings named in AG’s Report

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:03 AM

Certain portions of the Auditor General’s (AG) Report which was released recently have raised serious questions that must be answered by the relevant bodies named, the most critical being the Sarawak Housing Development Corporation (SHDC).

State PKR chairman Baru Bian who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said SHDC was found to have paid out RM2.88 million to two contractors for paint jobs which were never done.

“Certain procurements made were not done in accordance with the provisions of the applicable rules. There was an advanced payment of RM16.06 million made without authorisation for an upgrading project in Sibu, resulting in the government incurring interest charges of RM1.77 million.

“Payments of RM30.40 million were made without verification by the officer, while payments amounting to RM20.77 million were unsupported by Payment Certificates,” he told a press conference at state PKR headquarters here yesterday.

Baru said those findings point to serious mismanagement issues and a financial oversight.

“This body (SHDC) is tasked with providing affordable housing for the people but it has seemingly been completely irresponsible with the state’s money and resources. Has there been misappropriation of funds or leakages?

“What action is the government going to take as a result of the AG’s Report? Someone has to be held responsible, and I hope this revelation will not go the way of other past AG’s Reports where there was little or no action taken to address the problems or to hold the relevant persons to account.”

He also said construction of the new wing of Riverside Majestic Hotel, under the purview of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), was also found to be unsatisfactory.

“Besides failure to complete, and despite seven extensions totalling 758 days, the project cost was found to have increased by RM8.07 million, an increase of 13.5 per cent. In addition, liquidated and ascertained damages (LAD) were not imposed for work which was delayed by 148 days, which if paid, would amount to RM2.09 million.

“Again, the project cost overrun needs to be explained, and the reason for not imposing the LAD charges.”

Baru said the financial management of the Sarawak Museum and State Legislative Assembly (DUN) were also found to be less than satisfactory.

“With the building of the new museum complex, it is even more crucial that financial transparency, accountability and competency be maintained without exception.”

He noted that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has announced that it will be studying the AG’s Reports and investigating possible corruption and abuse of power where warranted.

“In all these cases, taxpayers’ money was involved, and the MACC must be thorough in its investigation. It is unfortunate that these bodies are or were under the purview of the chief minister in his roles as the Minister of Housing and Urbanisation and the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, except for the DUN.”

Baru said it is even more crucial that investigations be carried out impartially and transparently so that there can be no allegation of cover-ups or ‘sweeping under the carpet’.

“The chief minister, with his strategic plans for the development of Sarawak including the proposed Light Railway Transit (LRT), digital economy initiatives, dam-building, etc, all of which involve huge sums of money, must take steps to reassure the people that the management of the state is in good hands and that his strategic initiatives will not suffer the same fate as these bodies named by the AG.”

Source : The Borneo Post Online by Jonathan Chia



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