Home > English (General) > RM1.7 billion for ‘faceless’ agencies

RM1.7 billion for ‘faceless’ agencies

Taib Mahmud - The longest serving Chief Minister in Malaysia

by Joseph Tawie

Sarawak‘s budget again offers ‘clandestine fiscal allocations’ to several ‘approved agencies’.

KUCHING: More than 50% of the RM3,263 billion development fund in the Sarawak government’s 2012 budget has been allocated to ‘faceless’ agencies, according to opposition assemblymen here.

Said Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen: “Nobody knows what these agencies are?”

“And I have been asking the same question for the past few years as to which agencies are using these funds that have repeatedly appeared in the State Development Expenditure allocated to the state finance ministry.”

Describing these agencies as a ‘big black hole’ Chong, who is also opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat’s shadow finance minister, said there has been a consistent increase in amounts allocated towards these ‘approved agencies’ trust fund.

He said in 2007, the ‘approved agencies’ had received RM1,257,000,000, and in 2008 it was increased to RM1,719,083,100, and 2009 to RM1,825,061,000.

For 2010, the fund went down to RM1,072,409,800, and this year it went up again to RM1,416,475,000.

“For next year, the government’s contribution towards the approved agencies trust fund has been increased to RM1.7 billion.

“Despite the large sums being allocated to this item in the budget year after year, the state government refuses to provide details of the agencies which have received funding under the heading.

“The legislative assembly is not informed of the identity of these recipients, thus rendering it impossible to supervise the utilization of the funds allocated this heading.

“As such, the executive, especially the Chief Minister, since he is the finance minster, is not accountable for the money allocated under this heading,” he said.

Chong pointed out that it is absurd that details of the allocation of expenditure for an amount of as small as RM1,200 are clearly spelt out in the budget while a huge amount exceeding RM1 billion is not properly accounted for.

“This defies the basic principle of political and financial accountability in a democratic system,” Chong said, adding that the opacity of this item makes it extremely susceptible to being abused.

He said when Pakatan comes into power in Sarawak it will put an end to such “clandestine fiscal allocations under the principle of accountability and transparency.”

“This allocation (RM1.7 billion) in 2012 will be spread out amongst the other ministries,” he said.

Source: FMT

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