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323 planned development projects in Sabah still in limbo

22 March 2022

By Farah Salim

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 323 planned development projects have yet to be implemented in Sabah, the 2020 Auditor-General’s Report disclosed.

Auditor-General Datuk Seri Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid said that it is equivalent to 39.4 per cent of the total number of projects which is 819 projects.

Out of the total number of projects, only 152 or 18.6 per cent were completed while 344 or 42 per cent were under implementation.

“In 2020, a total of RM1.22 billion in development expenditure (for Sabah) was approved, of which RM880.13 million or 72.1 per cent was spent,” he said in a statement.

Nik Azman was commenting on the AG’s Report on the Financial Statements of State Governments and State Agencies and the Compliance Audit of the Sabah State Departments/Agencies 2020 tabled in the Sabah State Assembly here yesterday.

On Sabah’s financial position, he said the state government’s Consolidated Fund decreased RM305.95 million or 9.4 per cent to RM2.947 billion in 2020 from RM3.253 billion in 2019.

The state’s Consolidated Revenue Account recorded a deficit of RM934.63 million, a decrease of RM1.149 billion or 536.3 per cent, against a surplus of RM214.24 million in 2019.

“In 2020, the revenue collected by the state government amounted to RM3.591 billion, a decrease of RM672.98 million or 15.8 per cent, compared with a revenue of RM4.264 billion in 2019,” he said.

Nik Azman said the Claimable Loan Balance increased RM129.85 million, or 10.8 per cent, from RM1.207 billion in 2019 to RM1.337 billion in 2020, while Total Public Debt decreased RM88.08 million, or 3.2 per cent, to RM2.656 billion from RM2.744 billion in 2019.

“At the end of 2020, the state revenue arrears recorded an increase of RM32.84 million, or 6.2 per cent, to RM560.48 million compared with the 2019 revenue arrears of RM527.64 million,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the state government needed to take note of five things, first, provides clear and detailed policies, guidelines and terms of agreement for investments managed by Borneo Development Corporation (Sabah) Sdn Bhd using housing loan funds.

Second, it needs to ensure that the reporting of investment balances and interest income in the financial statements is accurate; providing general deposit management guidelines covering procedures for receipt, repayment, maintenance of subsidiary registers, preparation of reconciliation statements, review and monitoring so that the reported account balances are accurate;

Third, the state government needs to conduct investigations into double payment errors that occurred in 2018 and 2020 to identify the real cause and ensure that improvement measures are implemented immediately apart from collecting the amount of overpayments.

Fourth, Sabah should investigate the non-compliance of the management of outstanding claims payments from 2015 to 2019 which did not have the balance of the allocation and were paid using personal advances under Treasury Directive 54.

Fifth, the state government should settle outstanding land compensation claims involving federal road projects from the Seventh to 10th Malaysia Plan, which were the rights of landowners, as well as avoid losses due to legal risks.

Meanwhile, Nik Azman said the matters raised in the audit report included the Procurement of a Contract for the Supply of Daily Cooked Food to the Islamic Religious Affairs Department of Sabah, of which the payment for ineligible orders amounted to RM54,092.20.

The AG’s Report also pointed out a shortfall of RM156,174 in the share of revenue from the People’s Housing Programme under the Sandakan Municipal Council and Tuaran District Council; and the failure to submit rental arrears of RM520,000 to the Sandakan Municipal Council by the management company.


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