KOTA KINABALU: The transfer of power to supervise road projects undertaken by the Public Works Department (JKR) to the state finance ministry is not politically motivated.
Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported a source said Chief Minister Hajiji Noor, who is also the state finance minister, simply wanted to have a better knowledge of the JKR projects.
He said the finance ministry could not afford to allow a big number of projects to be initiated without going through it first.
“This is also a way for the chief minister to say (to the state works minister) that ‘you can do anything you want but you have to refer to me first’,” said the source.
“Although different ministries have their own projects, the state finance ministry could be held responsible when it comes to such matters as money and tenders.
“Maybe he (Hajiji) wants to have some check and balance. This is how it’s done in the federal government – a minister will have to meet the finance minister if he wants urgent approval for projects.
“But the minister, in this case Hajiji, must be in the know about the projects.
“I don’t think the chief minister did this out of spite or because of political reasons. He needs (Sabah works minister and state Umno chief) Bung Moktar Radin and Umno.”
An analyst had contended that the decision to transfer power from JKR to the state finance ministry was politically motivated and aimed at limiting Umno’s influence in the state.
This comes after Bung, who is also a deputy chief minister, slammed the ministry over the move, saying it was “strange” because it did not have engineers, unlike JKR.
Bung also said he was unhappy with the ministry for awarding road upgrading works to city and district councils.
Another source said the state finance ministry was being careful as the works ministry was also still being monitored by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over cases that took place before Gabungan Rakyat Sabah took over the state government.
“Remember, JKR had been in a messy situation during the previous administration, so this could be a move to ensure check and balance,” he said.