KUCHING: 65 projects under Projek Mesra Rakyat, Penyelenggaraan Infrastruktur Awam (PIA) and Projek Infrastruktur Asas (PIAS) in the Betong parliamentary constituency have been abruptly cancelled by the Federal Development Office.
Majority of the affected projects were supposedly to be carried out via ‘gotong royong’ by the people to cut down costs and instil team spirit and a closer relationship among the rakyat.
Federal development Office in a letter dated February 12, 2018 issued a directive to Betong District Office to notify the approval of Projek Mesra Rakyat 2018.
In the letter, the District Officer was informed the amount approved was totalling RM1.12 million and warned that they could not carry out other project without prior approval.
The letter also gave very clear instructions that all gotong-royong projects must be carried not exceeding 14 days continuously or 14 days in maximum in a three month period.
Among the affected projects in the list sighted by the Borneo Post were construction of parking lots by Parent Teachers Association (PTA) at SK Medang, Spaoh; earthworks for the longhouse in Lempaong, Spak; a multi purpose store in Luing, Spak; public toilets in Graji Atas, Padeh; a gravel road in Layar, Betong; upgrading of farm road in Engkerbai Anyut, Spaoh and a long list of other important communities project.
Under PMR there were 47 projects costing RM3 million and under PIA/PIAS there were 18 projects costing RM1.1 million.
“These projects are not mega projects, they are just small projects that are very important to the villagers. If these projects are not implemented as promised, the people will be calling the elected representative as liar,” said Dr Richard Rapu, political secretary to the chief minister.
From a list widely circulated on WhatsApp, it is understood that some 500 Projek Mesra Rakyat were being cancelled throughout Sarawak, costing a total of RM42 million.
When asked if there have been anymore developments on the fate of the projects, Dr Richard revealed that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Dr Abang Johari Tun Openg has approved that the projects cancelled by the federal government will be implemented under the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP).
“For your information, All the projects will proceed. It will be funded under state funded RTP approved by Chief Minister for Sarawak’s GPS MPs,” he said.
Dr Richard also revealed that all projects will be carried out this year.