Reveal name of company funding RM30m flagpole project, DAP tells S’wak govt

SARAWAK DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen wants the state government to name the company funding the construction of Sarawak’s 99-metre flagpole on the banks of the Sarawak River.

The Stampin MP pointed out that the state government has remained mum on the identity of the company sponsoring the project that stands near the historic Fort Margherita since news of it leaked earlier this year.

“Right of the beginning, the project is tainted with elements of extravagance and non-accountability, the two elements reflecting a bad budgetary planning and management,” Chong, who is the Padungan assemblyman, said in a Facebook post yesterday (June 21).

“To spend RM30 mil to build a flag pole of 99 metre height, that is an average whopping RM300,000 per metre.

“Imagine how much welfare projects could be carried out with such a huge amount of money, instead of having merely a pole to boost the ego of the power that be.”

Chong said now that the construction of the flagpole has been completed, the question is who is footing the bill.

“Not many private companies have spare cash of RM30 mil to spend without having something in return,” he asserted.

“No businessman will throw RM30 mil for nothing. Who is this mysterious donor of the flagpole and what will the donor get in return?”

Chong further said given that the state government is showcasing the flagpole as the tallest flagpole in Southeast Asia, the mystery of who is paying for the “so-called landmark” should not be left unanswered.

In an immediate response, Sarawak State Tourism, Art, Culture, Youth, and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had lambasted Chong for once again opposing the state government on the flagpole project.

“Sarawak DAP is again resorting to cheap publicity stunts. They have always criticised the state government for every project we have built,” the Asajaya assemblyman was reported as saying by The Vibes.

“Do not focus so much on the cost of the project. If someone in the corporate sector wants to pay for the project, let them. The flagpole monument is the latest icon for Sarawak. It is a tourism attraction and symbol of Sarawak.”

The GPS senior leader also urged DAP to “focus on more important issues.”

On Feb 1, Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing voiced his support for the controversial plan to construct the flagpole monument, even calling it a “good idea.”

The Bintulu MP added that the ministry supports the project because it may help boost tourism in the state and country, and that the private sector is invited to participate and support its initiatives.

“The ministry needs the active involvement of all sectors in promoting our country,” the Dudong assemblyman said.

The Premier of Sarawak’s Office clarified in January that the state’s tallest flagpole was a privately-funded corporate social responsibility project, although he did not name the company.

It was also stated that the project was in conjunction with Sarawak’s 60th anniversary as a party to the formation of Malaysia.

The flagpole is 4m taller than the flagpole in Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Square, which is also the tallest in Southeast Asia. – June 22, 2023


Main pic credit: Chong Chieng Jen 张健

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