Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jabu Loses His Cool

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
Apr 6, 11
Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu, who is defending the Layar seat for the eighth consecutive term, has evaded allegations that the management of the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) is not transparent.

He countered that the opposition was "jealous" because the agency had paid out more than RM400 million in dividends to landowners.

"We are answerable to the government. We are not answerable to people who shout on the street," said Jabu after he filed his nomination form at the Betong district office.

He was referrinNONEg to PKR supporters who had shouted "Reformasi" during the nomination process this morning.

"What can they prove that they have given to the landowners? What can they prove? Let them shout," he said.

Pressed to comment on complaints from some landowners that Salcra has never provided them with its financial statements, the veteran politician lost his cool.

"That's what you say, that's what you say!" he said, raising his voice and staring at the journalist who posed the question.

Whistleblower website Sarawak Report had alleged that Salcra's performance has been dismal under the leadership of Jabu, who is its chairperson.

It said Jabu's promise of a bumper payout of “a record RM74 million in profits” to native landowners was an election gimmick to hide the failure of Salcra.

Sarawak Report reasoned that RM74 million in profit for 48,000 hectares of oil palm plantations - equal to RM1,541 a hectare - was “simply pathetic”, compared with other plantaion companies such as IOI that made a profit of RM13,347 a hectare the same year.

The website highlighted suspicions that Jabu had squandered Salcra's earnings.

Participants in Salcra schemes are mainly rural Iban folk who have signed over their native customary rights to their land to the Salcra management.

However, Malaysiakini has been receiving complaints about the absence of financial statements, as well as about dividends paid at the management's whim.

Opposition warned again

Jabu also repeated his warning to opposition canvassers from Peninsular Malaysia not to cause trouble in Sarawak.

"But I'm quite worriedbn candidates announcement pbb hq 030411 alfred jabu because I saw what happened during the Sibu by-election... the unhealthy political elements of the opposition," he said.

"Don't try to jeopardise what has been going well here. They just come here for two weeks during the election. After they go back, the Sarawak people will have to bear the burden left by them, which was demonstrated in the Sibu by-election."

He reiterated that Sarawakians would not hesitate to take action to defend their social harmony if threatened by the opposition.

"Please try to respect us... the multiracial and peace-loving people of Sarawak have their own patience, but once the threshold of patience is worn out, they will naturally defend their integrity," he said.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who had accompanied Jabu to the nomination centre this morning, echoed the statement.

He said the police have been deployed to maintain peace and order, but that no report of untoward incidents has been received so far.

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