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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gov't accused of 'bullying' as non-BN reps deprived of funds



BN-led government is "bullying" citizens into voting for BN by depriving rural constituencies held by opposition funds development programmes, said PKR's Ba' Kelalan assemblyperson Baru Bian.
It was reported that allocations such as the Rural Transformation Project (RTP) allocation of RM5 million per constituency, the federal 'Projek Mesra Rakyat' allocation and the Minor Rural Programme funds are not available for non-BN representatives.
"This is nothing but the government bullying and punishing the people for exercising their democratic right to vote for the representatives of their choice.
"The funds come from the people in the form of taxes - income tax, road tax, property tax, goods and services tax and so on - and every citizen has equal rights to enjoy the benefit of their tax contribution.
"If they continue to be deprived, can they elect not to pay any form of taxes?" he asked in his debate speech at the Sarawak legislative assembly sitting in Kuching today.
In March, Sarawak chief minister's political secretary Abdullah Saidol said funds for the RM5 million RTP will be allocated through monitoring agencies, for projects in BN constituencies.
"You have to ask (Sarawak CM) Abang Johari (Openg) himself on why this is the case," he told reporters in Kuching.
"The balance will then be placed under Abang Jo. He has the duty of going around the state to visit from one place to another,” he reportedly said.
Last month, Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming filed an application against Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar to challenge his instruction to cancel local council projects in parliamentary constituencies where BN had lost.
Nga also named Local Government Department director-general Abu Bakar Johar as respondent.
Abu Bakar had issued a letter dated March 17 to scrap the approvals for local government projects for the year 2017 at non-BN constituencies.
The directive applies to all BP 1 projects which, according to the ministry's website, refer to small-scale infrastructure projects at the local council level.
'Should withdraw support from Najib'
Meanwhile, Baru urged Sarawak BN parties to withdraw support from Umno president and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for "failing Malaysia".
"Our forefathers did not intend for us to be mere followers of Malaya; they wanted us to exercise our own judgment and stand up for what is right for this country and her people.
"We have the golden opportunity to make a difference and I pray that we will have the courage and conviction to seize the opportunity," he said.
Among the failures, Baru said, included the inability to safeguard religious freedoms, by paving the way for amendments to the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355).

"The feeble justifications that (the bill) is not hudud has been debunked by many scholars, and the even more ludicrous assurance that the laws will not apply to non-Muslims is met with disdain and disbelief," he said.
Baru said there has been multiple instances where non-Muslims in Malaysia have been subjected to Islamic practices "in the name of modesty, avoidance of confusion, respect and other such excuses".
"Such incidences prove that our concern is not misplaced. We must ensure that Malaysia remains a secular country – if at any time she loses this secular status, we consider the Malaysia Agreement to be breached and repudiated,"he said.- Mkini

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