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Sunday April 15, 2012

Sagan says attacks intended to make voters in Baram reject him

MIRI: All allegations and mudslinging against Baram MP Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan are aimed at making him look like an unscrupulous, heartless “monster”.

“But I’m not a monster,” he said after the launch of Katengah (Kawasan Telang Usan Tengah) pro tem committee initiated by six villages — Uma Akeh, Long Puak, Long Banyuk, Long Ikang, Logan Sibong and Kuala Tutoh — in central Baram Friday night.

The pro tem committee was initiated by the locals led by its chairman Peter Jalong Usan aimed to create a unified platform to develop the areas.

Sagan, who is also Deputy Industrial Trade and Industry Minister, was asked by reporters about allegations that he was trading the future of his constituents for millions of ringgit in benefit from the construction of Baram Dam.

“I don’t want to comment on it,” he said. “It is not the truth. Initially I intended to sue all my accusers, but then I had no idea who they really were as they were bloggers.”

Concerning allegations that his family members’ businesses were allegedly linked to him or had gotten indirect favours through his influence, he insisted that they were not true.

Sagan stressed that they won projects through open tenders without any link to him or his ministry.

“The attacks on me personally were carried out by the Opposition to mar my image and influence so that voters in Baram would reject me. All the allegations were utter rubbish,” he said.

“I am very sad because Bruno Manser Foundation even posted allegations against me in Switzerland. (It’s) not fair of them to attack me like that. I am trying to serve the people to the best of my ability; to develop Baram despite the limited resources. I’m not as rich as what my accusers say. I can’t even afford to improve the house that I bought when I was a civil servant, and I am still staying in it.”

On the rumour that issues pertaining to Baram Dam could adversely affect his chances of winning in the coming parliamentary election, Sagan agreed that some voters might be influenced by the arguments of the Opposition, but judging by reports on the ground his support base was still intact.

Sagan, who is also SPDP senior vice-president, said no doubt his people were very worried about the RM3bil dam project, but not to the extent of abandoning him because the alternative would be more terrible.

“From what I had heard from community leaders, opinion leaders, and various agencies and political networks on the ground, the support for me is still strong,” he said.

The Baram Dam project is expected to affect some 20,000 people in 25 settlements including Sagan’s longhouse at Long Anap, which will be at the deepest part of the reservoir.

Sagan said prior to and during the coming elections, the Opposition would no longer harp on Lapok Road like before. Instead the attacks are on him personally with Baram Dam issues as the main ammunition.

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