(16 October 2000)

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government should prepare a White Paper to clear the air on the alleged illegal logging in Kalabakan, Tawau.

This suggestion was contained in one of the 10 questions tabled for oral answers by Likas Assemblyman, Datuk Yong Teck Lee, for the November sitting of the Sabah State Assembly.

Yong said a detailed official explanation is necessary to erase any suspicion of irregularity in Sabah Foundation's decision to carry out clear-felling of 30,000 hectares of its forest concession in Kalabakan without the mandatory Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

Newspaper reports have quoted State officials as admitting that the logging was meant to prepare an area for forest plantation required by a proposed Sabah -China paper mill joint venture.

The absence of the EIA was also acknowledged and Chief Minister Datuk Osu Sukam had earlier this week reiterated that the logging will continue.

Yong's other questions covered subjects of the State's economy, security as well as subject of government policy.

Two long outstanding issues are also on the list.

One conerns the State Government's pledge to reveal the results of investigations into alleged impropriety in the Sabah Ports Authority's use of its funds in a private company's bid to secure off-shore loans for a new container port here.

Another question, directed at the Minister of Local Government and Housing, sought answers for alleged "Ali Baba" practices in the State-owned MLGH Sdn Bhd in the seafront reclamation projects in Likas Bay, near here.

On the issues of State policy, Yong asked the Chief Minister if the State Government had officially adopted a policy not to appoint politicians in statutory bodies such as the Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation (STPC).

The "no politician" statement was made recently by State Minister of Tourism, Environment, Science and Technology Datuk Chong Kah Kiat, when he announced changes in the composition of the STPC Board.

Yong also asked the Chief Minister for the State policy governing the transhipment of forest products in Labuan and Sabah.

In another question to the Minister of Rural Development, Yong asked for a detailed explanation of all policies, plans and actions that the State Government has implemented to alleviate poverty in the State.

On issue that has so far attracted little public attention is the implication of a proposed bank merger under which Sabah Bank Berhad would come under Multi-Purpose Bank Bhd.

Yong asked the Minister of Finance to outline the measures the State Government has taken to protect the rights and the welfare of the employees of Sabah Bank.





Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Member of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas

Osu: I will respond to Yong's calls in Assembly

OSU said he will respond to the suggestion by Likas Assemblyman Datuk Yong Teck Lee for a White Paper to be prepared to clear the air on the controversial Kalabakan logging in November's Assembly sitting.

"From what I read, it was one of the questions which Yong would raise in the State Assembly so we will answer it then," he said.

On why the post of Director in Yayasan Sabah and Sabah Port Authority had yet to be appointed, Osu said this was in the process and the State Government was finalising the details.?

Yong had also wanted to know the outcome of a purported loans puzzle involving tens of millions of ringgit by Sabah Ports and which Osu had promised would be investigated and revealed in due course.






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