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Saturday November 14, 2009

Opening ‘do’ cost RM1mil

KUCHING: The Sarawak State Assembly complex’s opening in July cost the state government more than RM1mil – and nearly half of the amount went to organising a river float parade and fireworks.

Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said RM581,179 was spent on the ceremony and RM437,250 on the river float parade and fireworks display at night.

“The expenses were in line with the grandeur of the ceremony, which was graced by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, the rulers as well as local and foreign dignitaries.

“This was the first time that a state assembly building was officially opened by the King,” he told Voon Lee Shan (DAP – Batu Lintang) during question time.

To a supplementary question from Voon, Awang Tengah said the state government also bought luxury cars for the ceremony which were later deployed for the use of various state ministries and government agencies.

“We obtained APs (approved permits) from the Federal Government and the cars were bought from Brunei at a reasonable price,” he said.

Awang Tengah also chided Voon for implying that the state government had been too extravagant.

“You should know that the ceremony, carried live nationwide, has brought a great impact to Sarawak and our local tourism.

“We should be proud. Only narrow-minded people will think the ceremony was just a waste,” he said.

Meanwhile, Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin told Datuk Abdul Wahab Wan Sanusi (BN – Sadong Jaya) that 642 visitors to the state were found to be involved in vice activities as of October this year, compared to 591 last year.

The offenders have been charged in court.

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