Saturday, April 20

Darul Hana musical fountain project under Auditor-General’s scrutiny


Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah

KUCHING: The federal Auditor-General has sent the newspaper report on the question raised by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How on the RM31 million spent to build the Darul Hana Musical Fountain to the State Audit Office.

This was disclosed by a reliable source to The Borneo Post yesterday which added that the State Audit Office has been instructed to check on the project.

Another source familiar with the workings of the Auditor-General’s Office said whenever the Audit Department saw ‘glaring’ news on questionable projects, the state or sector concerned would be instructed to investigate the issues raised.

However, attempts to contact the Sarawak Audit Department for comments have not been successful.

Meanwhile, a consumer rights leader when contacted over the issue said the people must demand for the project to be audited to justify the RM31 million spent to build the fountain.

“If there is a proof of wrongdoing, then MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) must act but the first stage is for the project to be audited.

“If there are questions over the cost of a project, the relevant agency or the minister has to answer,” said Malaysian Digital Economy Consumer Association (MDECA) secretary-general Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah.

He added that he is mystified by the government’s penchant for “cosmetic development projects” when the people are crying for affordable houses, good roads and reliable public transportation.

“If they build houses, roads or provide public transportation, it is going to help the people and boost the economy, but you go and build a fountain for RM31 million?” he lamented.

He was asked to comment on See’s contention that the cost of RM31 million to build the musical fountain was excessive.

Muhammad Sha’ani said that spending too much money on grandiose projects is not confined to Sarawak local authorities because there are also many extravagant projects in Kuala Lumpur costing billions of ringgit being implemented by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

“These are billion-dollar projects you know, not million dollar-projects, under DBKL,” he said.

Muhammad Sha’ani said most of these lucrative projects were usually awarded via closed tender or direct negotiation.

“Now the government is claiming shortage of funds, no budget – so, the both the federal and state governments must look into these kinds of expenses. They cannot allow certain people to do direct negotiation and just award things like this musical fountain for RM31 million.”