A-G report clears Sabah BN administration, says Umno

Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex November 5, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex November 5, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KOTA KINABALU, Dec 5 — The Auditor-General’s 2017 report on Sabah clearly vindicates former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, whom the current administration accused of mismanaging finances, Sabah Umno said today.

Its chairman Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor said that they were not surprised by the A-G’s Report as it was just a continuation of similar reports for the last 15 years under Musa as Sabah Minister of Finance.

“It is not too far-fetched to even say that Musa was one of the best financial managers Sabah ever had. He managed to present a surplus Budget for 2018 despite the dismal price of oil back then and surplus accounts for 16 years in a row,” he said in a statement here today.

Hajiji said in terms of basic accounting, the report means the previous administration did not spend more than it earned, and Warisan’s claims that the state’s finances were badly managed and that the party was left with not enough to fulfill their manifesto, were untrue.

“In the wake of May 12, Warisan openly claimed the state's finances were in dire straits. Sadly, this alleged lack of funds is the old song and dance that they keep using as an excuse to not deliver to the people...however, the figures for 2017 speak for themselves,” he said.

May 12 was the date Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was sworn in as Sabah chief minister.

“The recent revelation of the A-G’s report proves that the state government has contradicted itself when presenting the Sabah Budget 2019 recently. Since helming the office, the Warisan government has committed numerous flip flops on Sabah’s financial position,” Hajiji said.

“Initially they said there is no money in coffers and then, suddenly there is money but wait...it looks like there is money but it is through accounting manipulations,” he said.

According to the report from the A-G which was released on Monday, the state’s consolidated fund increased, there was surplus resulting in the accumulated balance rising, revenue collection increased, and also an increase in operating expenditure.

The consolidated fund rose last year by RM390.64 million or 16.2 per cent to RM2.8 billion in 2017, compared to RM2.41 billion in 2016. There was also a surplus of RM56.66 million in 2017, resulting in the accumulated balance rising to RM3.8 billion or 1.5 per cent while revenue collection increased by RM444.44 million or 12.9 per cent to RM3.89 billion in 2017.

Investments in fixed and state deposits reached RM2.51 billion and investments in public corporation and statutory bodies totalled RM6.58 billion. The two investments brought in RM112.67 million and RM140.43 million in interests and dividends.

Hajiji said that in spite of Musa’s achievement, the Warisan-led government chose to mislead the people on Musa's performance as chief minister and finance minister for the last 15 years, which was not only an act of incompetence but malice in an attempt to belittle the achievements of the previous state government.

 “If the new administration does not have the decency or the courtesy to acknowledge the milestones of its predecessor, the least it can do is to not mislead the people. In civil society, in spite of political differences, gentlemen still shake hands and give credit where credit is due,” said Hajiji, who is also Sulaman assemblyman.

After taking office as chief minister, Shafie announced he was taking up the Finance portfolio as well, to clean up the “financial mess”. He also later said that the state Barisan Nasional government had not been forthcoming about the state’s financial status, claiming the state’s RM4 billion reserves were non-existent.

Musa was chief minister of Sabah from 2003 to 2018, when he was ousted from the post despite a controversial narrow win in the state and general elections.

He has since been trying to get the courts to declare his ouster as unconstitutional but is also facing several charges of corruption.

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