KUCHING: Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh was worried about Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Dr James Jemut Masing’s suggestion on spending the state reserves of RM31 billion for development projects before the next state election in 2021.
“How do you plan to spend such amount of money in only about two years?” he told a press conference at Bangunan Baitulmakmur Medan Raya, Petra Jaya here, yesterday.
Prior to his impending resignation from all ministerial posts, Wong said that he is greatly concerned about how the state would manage financial affairs in the future particularly after Masing’s suggestion.
“As you know, I have been Second Finance Minister since July 2004 – 15 years. I do not want the money to be spent just like that.
“For 15 years, under the instruction of the then Chief Minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud (now the Head of State), we have painstakingly built up the state’s reserve for our children and grandchildren.
“We do not want to see the money squandered in a short period of time particularly on big projects of dubious merit. That would be wasteful.”
Wong further added that development must lead to a noticeable improvement in the livelihood of the people. To him, development is to bring benefits to the greatest number of people.
“Development is alleviating poverty and reducing inequality as well as letting people participate in economic activities to improve their quality of life. Otherwise, development is not development at all,” he said.
Wong said that this is one of the reasons why he should meet Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and address the matter properly prior to his resignation.
“I have to know that Abang Johari will reject such an irresponsible proposal. I also believe that he would have the wisdom to say no to Masing,” he said.