Tham questions Chin’s rationale for defending JPPS
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) stalwart Datuk Tham Nyip Shen yesterday took Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Deputy President Datuk Chin Su Phin to task for defending the Sabah Federal Development Department (JPPS). Tham especially questioned Chin’s over-zealous act of defending the Department. “Perhaps he should tell the people of Sabah what is his relation with the JPPS,” said Tham in a statement issued here yesterday. He was responding to Chin’s statement on Wednesday, cautioning the Government not to make a hasty decision in closing down the Department. The former Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah argued that JPPS was set up to facilitate the implementation of Federal-funded Government projects in the State, for fear of sabotage from the then Opposition PBS State Government. “But this is no longer the case now, as the Barisan Nasional is now the ruling Government in Sabah, as such JPPS has already outlived its usefulness,” he pointed out. He also noted that unlike in the past when the Department was first established, it has become less efficient and uncooperative over the years and has drawn criticisms from many Elected Representatives in Sabah. This was reflected in the recent State Legislative Assembly sitting where many of the YBs have voiced their dissatisfaction over the practical functions of JPPS to meet the needs of Sabah people. Not only that, sometimes even the Ministers are having problems dealing with JPPS, he claimed, hence making it difficult for them to serve the people effectively. Tham added that prolonging the existence of JPPS not only benefit a privileged few but also giving an impression that Central BN simply does not trust Sabahans, a scenario that Kuala Lumpur must avoid at all cost today. On Wednesday, Chin said that the suggestion to close down the JPPS was only the views of several Sabah BN component leaders and as such did not reflect the view of all Sabahans. He said nobody could deny the fact that over the past 20 years, the JPPS had benefited the people Sabah, in particular the rural areas such as the construction of roads. hospitals, schools and fire station during the Eighth Malaysia Plan and under the current Plan. He also said any hasty decision t close down the Department would not only inconvenience its bi number of staff, including professionals such as engineers and their family members but also jeopardize on-going development projects being undertaken by the Department. He said it would not make an difference to close down the Department and gives it another name “We cannot make a hasty decision and close down JPPS just to pacif3 certain unsatisfied leaders because this will not solve the problem. Nevertheless, if there is really need to close down the JPPS, ii must be done properly and with ample time to do it,” he argued. After the March 8 Genera Election, and following overwhelming requests from Sabah leaders, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi promised to close down the JPPS.