Noh Omar: Gov't prioritising BN areas as funds limited

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The government is prioritising BN areas for local council projects because there is shortage of funds, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar.

Malaysiakini yesterday reported that the ministry on March 17, issued a letter instructing the cancellation of BP 1 projects - small scale infrastructure projects - in constituencies which are not held by BN Members of Parliament.

"It is not true (that the government is cancelling all local council projects in non-BN constituencies) because there are areas where BN lost, especially in Shah Alam and Sepang, where many projects were approved," he told Berita Harian.

DAP’s Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming had yesterday alleged that the letter was “part of BN's campaign against the opposition in facing the next general election”.

The ministry has had to prioritise BN constituencies since last year because there is not enough funds for projects in all 222 parliamentary constituencies, Noh said.

"It is only after the adjustments that the allocations can be distributed to constituencies that were not won by BN," he said.

The letter, dated March 17, was issued by Local Government Department director-general Abu Bakar Johar.

The letter instructed local governments to "cancel all BP 1 projects for the year 2017 approved in local governments in parliamentary constituencies held by non-BN parties”.

It also stated that warrants for budget allocations issued to implement these projects would be cancelled.

BP 1 projects are infrastructure, public amenities, and socio-economic projects carried out to assist and support local councils to develop and improve the physical and socio-economic conditions of local communities within the respective local council districts in the country.

Directive is discriminatory, affects millions

Nga, who filed a letter of demand for the directive to be retracted today, estimates more than 20 million people will be affected as the BP 1 projects involve basic amenities in 89 constituencies.

PKR’s Alor Setar MP Gooi Hsiao Leung called the directive discriminatory, branding the ruling coalition a “sore loser” and incapable of governing all Malaysians.

Meanwhile, Selangor exco Ean Yong Hian Wah said today that Selangor would not be affected as the PKR-led state government has not received federal funds since 2008.

Penang executive councillor on local government Chow Kon Yeow also acknowledged that while the directive was discriminatory, Penang, which is governed by opposition party DAP, will also not be affected.

Checks with the ministry found that the directive does not apply to projects already approved, said Chow.

PKR's Selayang MP William Leong had also called for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to probe Noh for abuse of power under Section 23 (1) of the MACC Act. 

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