KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — The decision to cancel five projects in July valued at RM10.6 million that were planned for Sandakan was an act of political vengeance, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has alleged.
In a statement today, the former finance minister said the projects were a clear indication that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government is out to punish the Warisan Plus state government.
It is understood the projects would have involved upgrading work for 24 bridges, the installation of a sewage system in Kampung Cina Sim-Sim and renovations for a home for the blind, among others.
“Meanwhile, the RM80 million upgrading project for Sandakan International Airport that has commenced is now put on hold, giving rise to uncertainty whether it will proceed
“Fortunately, special funding for Sandakan Hospital of RM10.6 million, Sandakan schools of RM280,000, RM107,000 for churches, temples and mosques were already disbursed and could not be cancelled.
“PN’s federal government’s cancellation of special projects for the rakyat in Sandakan is a clear act of political vengeance against the Warisan Plus state government led by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“PN is not just cruelly punishing the rakyat unnecessarily. PN is also dishonouring the spirit of the 1963 Malaysian Agreement (MA 63) and the Cobbold Commission’s recommendation that Sabah be treated as an equal partner,” he said in a statement today.
Lim also criticised PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s campaign speech in Kudat on September 18 in which he said more aid and allocations can be extended to Sabah for the benefit of its people if the leadership of Sabah is aligned with the federal government.
He said that Muhyiddin’s words were contrary to the MA63 agreement where Sabah is an equal partner with Sarawak and the Federation of Malay States to form Malaysia.
“How can Sabah be considered as an equal partner if the prime minister can threaten Sabahans to withhold promised development funding?
“If the blind are also to be punished when RM1 million to upgrade the Home for the Blind can be cancelled, then the PN federal government is blind to its responsibilities to the people of Sabah and promises to respect the spirit of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement,” he said, referring to the cancelled projects in Sandakan which is represented by DAP’s Vivian Wong as the MP.
Thus, Lim said it is important for voters in Sabah to send a clear message to Muhyiddin and PN not to victimise them anymore when they go to the polls on Saturday.
“Clearly, the people of Sandakan and Sabah have no choice but to vote for Warisan Plus to send a clear and unequivocal message to Muhyiddin on Saturday’s election, that Muhyiddin should not victimise Sabahans just to play his political games to hang on to power with his slim two-seat majority in Parliament,” he said.
National news agency Bernama reported Muhyiddin, who is also the prime minister, as saying in a speech in Kudat that the federal government can only provide assistance to Sabah as far as what it is stated is compulsory under the Federal Constitution because the Sabah and federal governments are not on the same page.
“We help but the assistance is only to the extent of what is mandatory under the Federal Constitution, that is the right of the Sabah people,” he was quoted as saying during a meet-the-people session at Dewan Tun Mustapha.