New Astana. Is it necessary? Be transparent with the expenditure


Media Statement by Kelvin Yii:

The Sarawak Government must be fully transparent and explain the rationale to spend millions of public funds to build a new Astana Negeri building, which would serve as the official residence for the Head of State.

This includes the cost of the whole project, the company given the award and the process whether was it done through an open tender.

On top of that, they should also reveal comparison if it will be more cost-efficient to repair and upgrade the existing Astana building which in my view carries much more history and should be retained as the official residence for the Head of State to preserve its heritage.

In most cases, such official residence are mainly used for official purposes including hosting head of States and VVIP for official state functions. It is rarely used as main residence as each head of state will have their own residence as well.

So based on the comparison of the amount of days it is fully utilised, is it more cost-efficient to build a total new building rather than up-keeping and upgrading the current ASTANA building and for it to be continued to be used to host official events while displaying our rich history and heritage to our VVIPs and dignataries.

While I am not against having museums, but the value of the museum is not the building itself but the exhibits. I am sure many of the exhibits can be kept within the current ASTANA or even there is a need be displayed in the many museum buildings we have, including the Borneo Cultural Museum building or even the old colonial museum building.

If the State Government can be transparent and justify properly the need for such project, I believe the people of Sarawak may even support if it is really good for Sarawak. If not, I strongly believe that there are other important priorities and needs in Sarawak especially when it comes to basic infrastructures and utilities.

Even if we have extra revenues or resources, it does not give us an excuse to spend it excessively as it may have long -term repercussions to all Sarawakians.

All additional allocations should be vetted and scrutinised with utmost diligence and the Sarawak Government has the onus and greater responsibility to ensure its being spent prudently, without wastage, and more importantly benefiting the people of Sarawak.

Dr.Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP of Bandar Kuching
National DAPSY Chief