KUCHING, Sept 4 — PKR’s Saratok Member of Parliament Ali Biju today urged Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah to clarify if the arrests of three senior officers and a businessman by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was related to the ongoing projects undertaken by a state government land development agency.
He alleged that the land development agency is directly involved in many lucrative contracts worth millions in the supply of pesticides and fertilisers throughout Sarawak.
“Do the arrests have any connection to these contracts?” Ali asked Uggah, who is also the chairman of the state agency.
“If contracts are related to the investigation by MACC, can we ask the chairman to tell us if the state agency’s contract awards are done through open tender or through direct negotiations?
“Who are the major contractors for the agency and who are their subsidiaries? More pertinent, who are the boards of directors of these companies?” Ali, who also PKR national vice president and Krian State Assemblyman, asked.
He added that the agency is also involved in road maintenance, logistics and heavy machinery contracts worth hundreds of millions.
The agency’s general manager who is a Datuk, deputy general manager, senior officer and a businessman Datuk, all in their 50s and 60s, were yesterday arrested by MACC.
This morning they were produced in a magistrate’s court for a remand order, but the application was rejected on lack of grounds.
The MACC, in its application, had said it wanted the four to help in its investigations under Section 16(a) of the MACC Act, but did not state the nature of the case.
Ali said the arrests of the four have raised questions about the state agency’s management, operations and business dealings.
“The main areas under this agency are Lubok Antu, Sri Aman, Betong, Saratok, Serian, Bau and Lundu,” he said, adding that the state agency is a very good rural development model to uplift the Dayak socio-economic status.
“However, if the model is abused and the business operations skewed to illegally profit a few, then we need to hold accountable those in charge,” he said, adding that about 20,000 landowner families state-wide are involved the land schemes undertaken by the state agency.
He added that 50,000 hectares of Native Customary Rights Land and Tittled Native Lands have been developed for oil palm plantation by the agency.
“In any case, we leave the investigations in the good hands of the MACC who we know will act justly and leave no stone unturned in its objectives to curb and stem out unchecked corruption and the wanton abuse of power,” he said.