BY BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU – The state government must come out with a White Paper on the “Sabah Water-gate Scandal” as a clear commitment that it is serious in combating corruption and abuse of taxpayer monies within government-linked departments and agencies.
Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) argued that verbal assurances that the state government will review all the existing procedures relating to projects involving both the federal and state governments does not hold water.
“Verbal promises made by the Chief Minister (Datuk Seri Musa Aman) can be ignored or forgotten with time,” said Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr. in a statement Tuesday.
“Only a White Paper can probe indepth as to what really transpired in the (Water Department) scandal and who the culprits really are, and that is what the people want to know.”
Padua said that as clients cum taxpayers who actually funded the Sabah Water Department through bills paid and GST collected, they have all the rights to know what actually transpired in the scandal.
Padua also said that it is perplexing as to why the Finance Ministry did not reply to several important issues of the scandal which had been brought up by Warisan president, Shafie Apdal.
“While the Minister of Finance (Musa is also the minister) had only emphasized the lack of coordination between a Federal ministry and the State Government in its reply, many people noted that the finance minister did not attempt to counter Shafie’s explanation relating to the approval of privatisation of the water treatment plants in Sabah.
“As Shafie had clearly explained it, the role of (ministry of Rural and Regional Development or KKLW) is only limited to setting up of treatment plants and/or laying of pipes and once this work had been completed, the supply of water will be undertaken by the state government.
“What the minister (of finance) failed to explain to Sabahans concern the approval of privatisation exercise of 58 or 59 Water Treatments Plants in the State to some six groups of individuals/ companies,” he explained.
“These individuals and/or companies are actually the ones responsible to ensure that water supply is being made to the Sabahans through all the plants and pipes prepared by KKLW,” he explained.
Padua also queried as to why the minister had failed to explain the recent extension approved by the government to PBS-era water concessionaires.
Padua also chided the Ministry for failing to highlight the fact that the scandal happened because of corrupt senior officers appointed by the state government.
“It is apparent to many that when the finance ministry issued its statement, the contents of it were as if the whole scandal is due to Shafie’s wrongdoing.
“However, they are hiding the fact that the finance minister cum chief minister had actually allowed his own state director and deputy director to award quotations for water running to over RM200 ringgit in these last few years.
Padua went on to say that he felt it was highly biased on the part of the ministry to neglect the important fact that MACC only hauled up all the State Water engineers and officers who amassed massive corrupt monies and properties.
He also queried if the State Government had made its internal investigation over the scandal immediately after it had been exposed with the reports of such investigation been forwarded to Musa?
“So if there is any (investigation), then there is no problem for Musa Aman to proceed with the White Paper,” he added.
“But if there is indeed no such reports which confirm that the scandal is due to Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s wrongdoing, then our Chief Minister may had misled the august house last week,” he explained.
Padua also said that the most important aspect relating to the scandal is the fact on how easy it is for a Federal ministry to bulldoze its way over the Chief Minister who is the executive head in the State.
“This scandal may have its blessing in disguise as Sabahans now know that our Chief Minister does not possess the same vigour, strength and courage as shown by his Sarawak counterpart, Tan Sri Adenan Satem when it comes to dealing with the Federal when he (Musa) himself admitted it that he could not get hold of Shafie for detailed briefing of the projects,” he added.