When Public $$$ Used, Accountability and Transparency Vital, Ramlee Told

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KOTA KINABALU: Whenever public funds are used, it is the responsibility of the authorities concerned to make sure that every sen is well spent and accounted for, and any queries on the expenditure must be answered in detail.

There must be no wishy-washy answers, as if avoiding scrutiny of the public eye, Likas State Assemblyman Junz Wong said, stressing when sums of money involve in the millions of ringgit, replies must stand up to the most minute of detail.

Junz Wong, right and Azis Jammam, briefing the media on the Sabah water deals which he alleged, though given to seven companies, the shareholders were related to each other.

“Do not give us replies like I will furnish you the written answers and so forth. Please answer them in the State Assembly, especially,” the Parti Warisan vice president said, saying assistant Finance Minister seems to be rather evasive when touching on Sabah water deals.

“It gives the impression that Ramlee is being defensive and evasive for reasons best known to him, and I want to remind him that money used for government projects are public funds and not his own.”

Junz was commenting on Ramlee’s reply in the media in response to a report made by Warisan to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in relation to water deals amounting to more than RM2 billion.

A Warisan lawyer, Jakariya Abdul Jalil had lodged the MACC report last week urging the graft busters to investigate the award of contracts to seven companies which were somehow connected to each other through its shareholders

Accompanied by Junz, and Warisan Wira chief, Dato Md Azis Jammam, Jakariya had also alleged that the companies all had the same address at a building in Penampang.

Names of the companies as well as its shareholders were made available to the media.

Ramlee Marhaban

Ramlee in his response to the latest allegations said the handover of tender or appointments of any company in relation to the water projects were given according to procedures.

“The appointment of the company for the tender was based on the credibility and efficiency of the company. There is no issue that the tender was only given to a particular company,” he was quoted as saying.

Ramlee was also quoted saying that he was sure there was no discrepancies or irregularities as alleged, and said that explanations on the water deals were given at the November 19 (2016) State Assembly sitting and wondered why the opposition was still questioning it.

Junz admitted that he had raised the issue in the State Assembly of a company called Yuda Water Sdn Bhd which had been awarded an RM480 million water project, and he has yet to receive the comprehensive written answer he had been promised by the people responsible.

“Now we are talking about the RM2.4 billion worth of water contracts for up to 20 years to these six or seven companies. When have we ever debated this in the State Assembly,” he asked.

“I advise Ramlee to get ready the answers to all these water projects because he can be rest assured that I would certainly be bringing it up at the next State Assembly sitting (scheduled for April 6 – 13).

Junz said he was making the queries not for self-interest or that of the opposition, but on behalf of the people of Sabah who have every right to know how tax payers’ money is spent, especially after the ‘watergate’ scandal and the fact that many places in Sabah are without treated piped water.