A Sabah assemblyperson has questioned ex-chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan's plea of ignorance over RM3.3 billion of federal government funded projects, linked to the corruption case involving Jabatan Air Sabah’s two top officials, who are under arrest.
They are being investigated for allegedly siphoning off millions into their pockets by diverting overpriced projects to companies owned by those close to them.
Pairin, argued Likas elected representative Junz Wong, is Sabah infrastructure development minister and should have been well briefed on the matter.
"He is in fact a trained lawyer and seasoned politician. In fact, he was the “giant killer” credited with removing the Berjaya government.
"He was chief minister for nearly 10 years and deputy chief minister and minister of infrastructure development since 2004.
"He should know the ins and outs of government, or else is conveniently suffering amnesia and being overcome by emotion to appeal his case based on pity," said Wong in a statement.
Wong said that it is unlikely that there is no legal documentation on the projects and that none of it passed through Pairin's hands or at least through his ministry, as it involved the Sabah government which needed to engage the contractors.
"Don’t tell me any construction contract can be written without a clause requiring regular reporting and checking before every single payment," he said.
Wong asked if Pairin is asking the people to believe that as the state minister in charge, he had been bypassed on all important matters.
"It is absurd that the minister, supported by a very capable and expensive public service, is claiming he is ignorant of funding sources, project implementation and magnitude of payments," Wong said.
'Explain what went wrong'
If Pairin is sincere, noted Wong, he should explain to the public what went wrong and how he could sit through numerous meetings, briefings and reports by his staff and yet not know anything, unless they had conspired to keep him in the dark.
"Pairin has to tell us why his government has such little or even no knowledge of what the federal government is doing in Sabah, despite being a member of the BN.
"But if Pairin was briefed properly and regularly, and still missed the critical bits, then how and why did that happen? Pairin must explain why and how he was allowed to run a ministry that has no checks on its own projects, expenditure and payments," said Wong. -Mkini
Wong added that if Pairin was truly ignorant of what was happening right before his own eyes as the minister in charge, then the ex-CM might as well be blind or guilty of incompetence, in keeping his cabinet colleagues in the dark on what was going on in Jabatan Air Sabah.