I raised “black hole” issue to hold S’wak govt accountable for public funds – Chong

 

Chong Chieng Jen – FMT pix

THE Sarawak DAP chairman said he called a press conference on Jan 2, 2013, to hold the state government accountable for money allocated into a trust fund set up in 2006, the Kuching High Court heard today.

During cross examination, Chong Chieng Jen said it was not true that the press conference and the pamphlets distributed during the event was aimed at embarrassing and damaging the reputation and credibility of the Sarawak government.

“It was part of my duties and responsibilities as the elected representative. Besides, the people of Sarawak have the rights to know where the public funds went to,” he said.

“I had tried my best to obtain more information and had raised the issue several times in the state legislative assembly (DUN) sitting between 2007 to 2012 – on who are those recipients (their identities) but to no avail,” he said.

He said in 2013, the DUN speaker had also disallowed him from further questioning about the management of the trust fund during the sitting.

Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman and Stampin MP, was the defendant’s second witness in the civil suit.

He said he felt that the action (to sue him) was to stop him from raising questions on where the huge amount of public funds went.

“We were told that the money has been used to repays loans taken up by companies owned by the state government. But, there is no accountability on what the money (loans) was used for,” he said.

“This does not comply with the fundamental principles of accountability and transparency of a parliamentary democracy,” he said.

Chong is being sued for defamation by the Sarawak government and State Financial Authority (SFA) for using the term ‘black hole’ to insinuate that RM11 billion had gone missing from the state coffers.

His allegation was published in Sin Chew Daily News, Malaysiakini and in leaflets distributed by him and the DAP, and also published in The Rocket.

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