KUCHING: An altercation broke out in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly between state assistant minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi and Works Minister Baru Bian over the Federal Government’s cancellation of three bridge projects in the state.
Julaihi, the infrastructure and port development assistant minister, criticised the federal government for cancelling the Batang Lupar, Batang Igan and Batang Rambungan bridge projects which had been approved by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.
“The Pakatan Harapan representatives who are in the federal government should fight for Sarawak, jangan takut dengan bos (don’t be afraid of your boss),” he said when answering a question from Tellian assemblyman Yussibnosh Balo on the state’s coastal road project on Wednesday (Nov 6).
Baru, who is Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, stood up to protest that this was imputing improper motives to him and wanted the words “takut dengan bos” to be withdrawn.
He said the cancellation of previously approved projects did not mean that he was afraid of his superiors.
“Not all your projects that were approved by our predecessor would be implemented. The conduct and practice of the previous administration was to approve projects when there was no money.
“We look at our financial position and that is a result of the action of the previous administration. There is no issue of ‘takut dengan bos’.
“We are a responsible government and we will execute projects when we have the financial position to do so,” he said.
Julaihi responded that the federal government should fulfil the promises made to Sarawak.
“If the allocation is not enough, why are many projects approved in the peninsula but Sarawak’s are cancelled? Does this mean the federal government is treating Sarawak like a stepchild?
“This is why I said please fight for the funds and fight for the interests of rural Sarawakians,” he said.
Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar intervened and told Julaihi to reply to Yussibnosh’s supplementary questions on the coastal road.
Baru later told reporters it was unfair to argue he was not fighting for Sarawak’s rights, when the bridge projects were cancelled due to financial constraints.
“The money for projects doesn’t simply fall from the sky. This is the people’s money and we need to spend it properly.
“Don’t tell me you can approve projects everywhere just to be popular. To me, that is irresponsible,” he said.
Baru also said he was committed to bring projects to Sarawak, not only for infrastructure but also rural schools and clinics.
“As long as I’m the Works Minister, I will do what I can to bring development projects to Sarawak,” he said.
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